Non-cooperation has prevented the ICC from executing arrest warrants for senior figures in the Sudanese government, including President Omar al-Bashir, who has sought to undermine the Court through the African Union. The UN Security Council has also consistently failed to provide the necessary support for the ICC investigation and has failed to take action on findings of non-compliance by ICC judges. While some civil society groups operate under repressive conditions in the country, the Darfuri diaspora is a driving force in the push for accountability.
Darfur: first ICC situation
In March 2005, UN Security Council Resolution 1593 (2005) determined that the situation in Darfur, Sudan constitutes a threat to international peace and security and referred the situation to the ICC—the first ever such referral to the Court. The ICC prosecutor received evidence as well as a sealed list of suspects identified by the UN International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur. After examining thousands of documents from a variety of sources, as well as interviews with over 50 independent experts, the prosecutor officially opened an investigation on 6 June 2005 into Rome Statute crimes committed in Darfur since 1 July 2002.
Resolution 1593 garnered 11 votes in favor, none against, and four abstentions (Algeria, Brazil, China and United States) and “urge[d] all States and concerned regional and other international organizations to cooperate fully” with the ICC. The prosecutor has been providing the Security Council with progress reports every six months.
ICC issues arrest warrants for senior government officials and rebel leaders
ICC arrest warrants have been issued for Sudanese government officials—including one charging President Omar al-Bashir with genocide—along with a Janjaweed commander. Summonses to appear have also been issued for high-ranking opposition rebels. Security risks in the country have largely limited the ICC's investigation to Darfuri diasporas.
Governments failing to arrest ICC suspects
In reports to the Security Council, the ICC prosecutor has underscored the Council's failures to enforce the warrants arising from its referral. In 2014, the prosecutor announced the 'hibernation' of the investigation due to the lack of cooperation provided by the Council and UN member states.
While several ICC member states have invited and welcomed al-Bashir in in their territories since his arrest warrants were issued, the Sudanese president's international travel has been greatly curtailed. ICC judges have referred several failures of ICC member states to comply with arrest and surrender requests regarding Darfur suspects to the Security Council as well as the ICC's governing body, the Assembly of States Parties. However, no further action has been taken by either body.
Darfuri activists and civil society have been at the forefront of a campaign throughout the Darfuri diaspora for accountability for grave international crimes in Darfur. International and local civil society groups have consistently called for the arrest of those wanted by the ICC, raising awareness among key global actors of their obligations under the UN Security Council referral and as ICC member states.
Civil society has also called for the Security Council to follow-up on its ICC referral by ensuring cooperation between UN member states and the ICC and ensuring that the ICC has sufficient resources to undertake investigations and prosecutions. To this end, the Coalition urges states that are members of both the Security Council and ICC to lead the initiative to promote responsibility-sharing between the two institutions.