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Darfur: Interior Minister Threatens Retaliation; Justice Minister
02 Mar 2007
Please find below a digest (2 March 2007) of continued media coverage on the ICC
Prosecutor's request for summonses for Ahmad Muhammad Harun and Ali Muhammad Ali
A. INTERIOR MINISTER THREATENS RETALIATION AGAINST EXTRADITION: Al-Hayat and the
Sudan Tribune report that Interior Minister Al-Zubayr Bashir Taha has threatened
to slaughter any international official or person who tries to arrest any
Sudanese official to turn him over him to the ICC.
Al-Hayat also reports that (1) legal experts have meanwhile started preparing
rebuttals to be presented to the Court; (2) opposition parties have asked
Khartoum to respond to the ICC in order to avoid a confrontation with the
international community; and (3) addition remarks by UN Envoy to Sudan,
Taye-Brook Zerihoun, about how the UN Mission in Sudan could deal with the ICC
B. JUSTICE MINISTER AGAIN REITERATES REJECTION OF ICC JURISDICTION: In another
statement on Thursday, 1 March, the Minister of Justice, Mohamed Ali Al-Mardi,
reiterated Sudanâ€™s firm and declared stance against the trial of any Sudanese
citizen outside the framework of the Sudanese judicial system.
C. ICC JUDGES TO MEET WITH PROSECUTOR ON DARFUR CASE: The Sudan Tribune reports
that Pre-Trial Chamber I has issued an order to convene a closed meeting session
on March 8 with the Prosecutor and the Victims and Witnesses Unit to discuss
â€śmatters arising from the Prosecutionâ€™s Application.â€ť
D. EUROPEAN UNION PRESIDENCY URGES COOPERATION: The German Presidency of the
European Union has issued a declaration, stating "The EU calls on all parties
concerned, particularly the government of Sudan, to fully cooperate with the
International Criminal Court."
E. US ENVOY RETURNS TO SUDAN: On the heels of the ICC announcement, U.S. Sudan
Envoy Andrew Natsios was expected to arrive in Sudan on Friday for another round
of diplomatic negotiations.
Please take note of the Coalition's policy on situations before the ICC (below),
which explicitly states that the CICC will NOT take a position on potential or
pending situations before the Court. The Coalition, however, will continue to
provide the most up-to-date information about the ICC.
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Coalition for the International Criminal Court
A. INTERIOR MINISTER THREATENS RETALIATION AGAINST EXTRADITION
1. Al-Hayat, Khartoum threatens to 'slaughter' those who try to extradite
suspects to ICC; Opposition fears 'confrontation' with international community,"
1 March 2007
(link not available)
"The Sudanese Government has decided to contest the jurisdiction of the
International Criminal Court in Darfur. Interior Minister Al-Zubayr Bashir Taha
threatened to slaughter any international official or person who tries to arrest
any Sudanese official to turn him over him to the international judiciary. [...]
Interior Minister Al-Zubayr Bashir Taha threatened to slit the throat of any
international official or any person who tries to arrest any Sudanese official
to present him to the ICC. He said in statements yesterday that if the ICC
wanted to try criminals for committing war crimes then let it try American
President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair for their use of
weapons of mass destruction and internationally banned phosphorous bombs in
Iraq, South Lebanon, and Afghanistan. He pointed out that the ICC accuses his
Government of burning villages and "straw" huts while Bush and Blair have razed
entire cities with warplanes.
The Sudanese Government is inclined to contest the jurisdiction of the ICC over
the Darfur issue and to respond to the accusations directed at Minister of State
Ahmad Harun and militia commander Ali Kushayb through legal avenues before the
international court, even though some ruling officials are against dealing with
the court, considering that Sudan is not a member and has not endorsed the
Legal experts have meanwhile started preparing rebuttals in preparation for
presenting them to the court, especially since Harun has already been subjected
to scrutiny by the Justice Ministry. Official sources said the ICC team that
visited the country last month had asked to interrogate Harun but that the
Ministry took over scrutinizing him because of his immunity, considering that he
is a Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs. The source said Harun was
responsive and cooperative during the interrogation. He said that The Hague team
did not meet Kusheib after authorities said he was being tried by the Sudanese
judiciary under Sudanese laws and that the ICC had no right to interrogate him.
But opposition parties asked Khartoum to respond to the ICC in order to avoid a
confrontation with the international community. They noted that the Darfur
violations have been referred to the court by the UN Security Council under
Chapter Seven, which entails punitive measures if Sudan refuses to cooperate.
The Secretary-General of Al-Ummah Party, Abd-al-Nabi Ali Ahmad, said that the
local laws were incapable of deterring war criminals in Darfur and that the
judiciary was not independent. Kamal Umar, the official in charge of justice
affairs at the Popular Congress Party [Hasan al-Turabi's party] said that there
is no option but to surrender the accused to the ICC. Sulayman Hamid, a
prominent leader in the Communist Party, urged the Government to consent to the
demands of The Hague Court because there are no laws in the country designed for
trials on crimes against humanity and war crimes. He said that Khartoum's
failure to comply would entail paying a heavy price. Ali al-Sayid, a leading
figure in the Federal Democratic Party, warned that if the Government agreed to
extradite Harun and Kusheib this would lead to adding more officials on the list
of persons wanted by the court.
Meanwhile the UN Mission in Sudan said that it was considering the possibility
of dealing with Government officials wanted by the ICC. It said it had received
assurances that Sudanese authorities were not planning to organize protest
demonstrations against the ICC Prosecutor's decision. Acting UN Envoy to Sudan,
Taye-Brook Zerihoun, was reserved in commenting on Ocampo's request for Harun's
appearance before the international court. He said the UN mission had no mandate
for dealing with the court, except for some coordination. But he said there were
precedents that allow the UN to continue dealing with individuals sought by the
ICC. He cited the precedent of dealings with the rebels of the Lord's Army in
Uganda. Zerihoun said he had received assurances from officials in the
Government and security bodies that no protest demonstrations would be organized
that would threaten the mission in Khartoum.
In Cape Town (Reuters), South Africa's Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad said
his country fully supported the ICC decision. But he said it was too early to
gauge the effect this would have on the long-term prospects for peace in Sudan."
2. Sudan Tribune, Wasil Ali, "Sudan to behead any person attempting to extradite
Darfur suspects," 2 March 2007
"The Sudanese interior minister threatened to behead any person attempting to
arrest the individuals indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
London based Al Hayat newspaper Thursday March 1 quoted Zubair Bashir Taha as
saying that his government will kill any party seeking to apprehend Sudanese
officials to bring him before the ICC. [...]
Taha stated that if the ICC wants to try criminals committing war crimes then it
needs to start with US president George Bush and British Prime minister Tony
Blair for using weapons of mass destruction and phosphorous bombs in Iraq,
southern Lebanon and Afghanistan. He pointed out that the ICC accuses his
government of â€śburning straw huts while Bush and Blair burned towns with their
The Sudanese government rejected the ICCâ€™s involvement in Darfur calling it
"illegitimate" and said it would not turn over the suspects for trial. However
Al Hayat newspaper has reported that the Sudanese government is leaning towards
challenging the jurisdiction of the ICC in Darfur before the judges. [...]"
B. JUSTICE MINISTER AGAIN REITERATES REJECTION OF ICC JURISDICTION
1. Suna News Agency, "Minister of Justice Affirms Sudan Rejection to Trial of
any Sudanese Outside Framework of Sudanese Judicial System," 1 March 2007
(link not available)
"The Minister of Justice, Mohamed Ali Al-Mardi, said that the Prosecutor of the
International Criminal Court (ICC) is fully aware that Sudan did not ratify the
ICC basic statute, therefore it is not subjected to court's procedure, adding
that the Prosecutor has tended to neglect this fact in his recent statement.
In a statement he issued Thursday, the Minister of Justice reiterated Sudan firm
and declared stance against trial of any Sudanese citizen outside the framework
of the Sudanese judicial system, adding that the government stance in this
respect extends to include also the Sudanese who did not sign Darfur peace
agreement and holding arms against the government.
Al-Mardi said that the existing stance of the ICC Prosecutor has no legal basis,
but came in application of certain political agenda targeting Sudan.
In his statement, the minister said that the President of the Republic formed in
the year 2004 a legal fact finding committee to investigate in incidents in
Darfur, which was headed by the former Chief Justice, Dafalla Al-Haj Yousif, and
included a number of senior lawyers, and investigated in violations of the
International Criminal Law, the Criminal Law and human rights in the three
states of Darfur. The statement said that the Minister of Justice formed a legal
investigation committee to conduct investigation in incidents and violations
that were committed in areas in Darfur states. The minister indicated that this
committee carried out investigations in the three states of Darfur, visited
places of violations, heard many witnesses, issued warrants of arrest for a
number of suspected persons, referred cases to a special court and delivered the
cases' documents to the Chief Justice, adding that the investigations in these
incidents in Darfur did not stop.
The statement said that the ICC Prosecutor has given no attention to the issue
of the legal jurisdiction in any sovereign country for trial of those who commit
crimes within its territories. The minister of Justice said that the ICC
Prosecutor neglected the fact that the ICC role is on complementary one, but not
alternative to the role of the national judicial system.
The statement pointed out that the ICC Prosecutor was aware that the ICC
jurisdiction in any country will not exist, unless concrete evidence is
available, or such a country appeared to be incapable to hold trial for the
persons who committed the crimes, adding that the ICC Prosecutor is aware that
the Sudanese judiciary has ruled in tens of similar cases and issued several
punishments of imprisonment and death against convicts.
The minister's statement stated that the figures included in the press statement
of the ICC Prosecutor and his application to the pre-trial on the incidents in
Darfur were much exaggerated, indicating that these figures were remarkable much
than the real number of incidents which have been included in a UN report.
The statement said that the ICC Prosecutor has categorically neglected the
crimes, tragedies and atrocities that were committed by the rebels, such as
crimes of murder, rape and arson in areas in Darfur.
The Minister of Justice said that the ICC Prosecutor remained describing the
People's Defence Forces (PDF) as Janjaweed forces, despite the fact that his
delegation received a copy of the Law of the People's Defence Forces (DPA) which
is affiliated to the Armed Forces.
The Minister of Justice said that the ICC Prosecutor knows of supposed to know
that the State Minister at the Ministry of Interior is a civilian and has
nothing to do with the Armed Forces which belongs to the Minister of Defence,
and also has no relation with the People's Defence Forces (PDF) and was not
authorized to distribute weapons to any circle, excluding the Police forces that
are affiliated to the Ministry of Interior.
The minister's statement indicated that the ICC Prosecutor did not collect
information from Sudan, and did not present any application to visit Darfur,
adding that all the information that he obtained, as he said, were collected
from 17 countries that included Chad, which is adopting a declared hostile
attitude against Sudan, besides information given by organizations that have
used to prepare fabricated reports on Sudan, such as Human Rights Watch, the
International Crisis Group and Amnesty International.
The statement said that the ICC Prosecutor referred to information that has
gathered by the ICC from a number of people who were living in refugees' camps,
despite that he did not visit any displaced people camp in Sudan to get informed
about accurate information concerning the crimes which were committed by rebels.
The Minister of Justice said that the ICC Prosecutor avoided reference to the
Sudanese Judiciary despite the fact that he knows about the independence,
competency and expertise of the Sudanese judges.
The minister said that the ICC Prosecutor did not any charge to any person in
the armed movements, but only concentrated his accusation to the former State
Minister at the Ministry of Interior and current State Minister at the Ministry
of Humanitarian Affairs and another citizen.
The minister's statement asserted Sudan firm and declared stance on rejection to
trial of any Sudanese citizen, including those who are holding arms against the
government, outside the framework of the Sudanese judicial system."
C. ICC JUDGES TO MEET WITH PROSECUTOR ON DARFUR CASE
1. Sudan Tribune, Wasil Ali, "ICC judges to meet with the prosecutor on Darfur
case," 1 March 2007
"The judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) today issued an order to
convene a closed meeting session on March 8 with the ICCâ€™s chief prosecutor
Luis Moreno-Ocampo and the Victims and Witnesses Unit at the court.
The Pre-Trial Chamber I at the ICC which has been assigned the Darfur case
stated in its decision that the meeting is to discuss â€śmatters arising from
the Prosecutionâ€™s Applicationâ€ť that was made on Tuesday to issue summons to
appear against two individuals suspected of committing war crimes in Darfur,
Under the Rome Statue which forms the basis of the ICC, the judges have the
power to issue arrest warrants or summons to appear at the request of the
prosecutor. The judges may also request more information from the prosecutor on
the evidence he files with the chamber. The time it takes for the judges to
decide on issuing arrest warrants or summons to appear is not defined by the
Rome Statue. [...]"
D. EUROPEAN UNION PRESIDENCY URGES COOPERATION
1. Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the
International Criminal Court's Investigation Into Darfur, 1 March 2007
"On 27 February the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague
applied to the Pre-Trial Chamber to issue summonses to appear against Ahmad
Muhammad Harun, former Minister of State for the Interior of the Government of
Sudan, and Ali Kushayb, a Militia leader. The Prosecutor, after completing the
necessary investigative steps, has concluded there are reasonable grounds to
believe that these two individuals bear criminal responsibility in relation to
51 counts of alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes, including
persecution, torture, murder and rape committed in Darfur in 2003 and 2004.
The EU welcomes the fact that an independent investigation has been conducted in
Darfur following the adoption by the Security Council of Resolution 1593 on 31
March 2005, which referred the situation in the Darfur region to the Prosecutor
of the International Criminal Court.
The EU calls on all parties concerned, in particular the Government of Sudan, to
fully cooperate with the International Criminal Court and to comply with any
decision the Pre-Trial Chamber may take.
The EU reiterates the Common Position of 16 June 2003 in which the Council held
that the International Criminal Court was an essential means of promoting
respect for international humanitarian law and human rights, thus contributing
to freedom, security, justice and the rule of law as well as contributing to the
preservation of peace and the strengthening of international security.
The EU recalls the fundamental principle contained in the Rome Statute of the
International Criminal Court that the most serious crimes of concern to the
international community as a whole must not go unpunished. Putting an end to
impunity for the perpetrators of theses crimes contributes to the prevention of
such crimes. [...]"
2. Agence France Presse, "EU urges Sudan to cooperate with international court
on Darfur," 1 March 2007
"The German presidency of the European Union on Thursday urged Sudan to
cooperate with the International Criminal Court after prosecutors accused one of
its ministers of war crimes in Darfur. "The EU calls on all parties concerned,
particularly the government of Sudan, to fully cooperate with the International
Criminal Court," Berlin said in a statement. It welcomed the fact that an
independent investigation had been carried out into atrocities in Darfur, where
a five-year-old civil war has claimed up to 200,000 lives. [...] Germany said
Khartoum should abide by "any decision" the ICC judges took. [...]"
E. US ENVOY RETURNS TO SUDAN
1. Agence France Presse, "US envoy returns to Sudan for Darfur talks," 1 March
"Washington's Sudan envoy Andrew Natsios was expected to arrive in Sudan on
Friday for a fresh round of diplomacy aimed at curbing the violence in Darfur,
the official SUNA news agency reported. During the course of his week-long
visit, Natsios is expected to hold talks with senior officials in Khartoum and
travel to Darfur as well as the south of the country, SUNA said on Thursday. The
envoy will bring forward "ideas susceptible to helping find a solution in Darfur
and convincing non-signatory rebels to join the political process," it added.
[...] The envoy's visit will come hard on the heels of an unprecedented move by
the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, which on Tuesday accused
two Sudanese officials of a string of war crimes in Darfur. [...]"
CICC'S POLICY ON THE REFERRAL AND PROSECUTION OF SITUATIONS BEFORE THE
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independent NGO movement dedicated to the establishment of the International
Criminal Court as a fair, effective, and independent international organization.
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and other organizations in the course of their efforts.
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