Has the ICC decided to issue an arrest warrant for Sudan's Bashir?
With an arrest warrant for Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir possibly days away, according to the New York Times, the UN Security Council faces a moment of truth: Will it allow the International Criminal Court (ICC) to move forward in the prosecution of the alleged “mastermind” of what ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo and the US government have both called a "genocide" in Darfur?Skip to next paragraph
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Or, will Council members postpone the Bashir case for another 12 months on grounds that Mr. Bashir could inflict terrible revenge on international aid workers, not to mention his own people?
The Security Council, under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, can decide it is “in the best interest” for the ICC to defer the prosecution of Bashir to preserve stability and peace, which might include a fragile pact in Sudan between north and south. “The council can come in at any time and defer,” says Mark Ellis of the International Bar Association in London, “but they would have to get all five members to agree, and I’m not sure they can.”
Whether or not judges at the ICC have fully signed off on an arrest warrant for Bashir is unclear. The New York Times published a story Thursday stating that a warrant had been issued. ICC officials insist they have not.
The Times report states flatly that “Judges at the [ICC] decided to issue an arrest warrant for [Bashir], brushing aside requests to allow more time for peace negotiations in the conflict-riddled Darfur region.”
The account prompted a storm of back and forths between the court, Sudan, the media, and the UN – whose chief, Ban Ki Moon, had a shouting match on Feb. 8 with Bashir, according to the Times. The purported arrest warrant isn't the only issue dogging the ICC in recent days. As the Monitor is reporting today, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo is causing a stir in Israel by suggesting he may investigate alleged war crimes in Gaza.