During the month of April, the international community remembers the victims of genocide and recognizes the horrendous crimes still being committed around the world. The genocide in Darfur began a decade ago this spring and despite international action the Sudanese government continues to target ethnic groups in Darfur as well as women through sexual violence. This week, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, issued the below statement marking the beginning of genocide awareness month and the Court’s efforts to provide justice for the victims of genocide in Darfur.
ICC Prosecutor marks Genocide Awareness Month
In 2010, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued its first warrant of arrest for genocide; a warrant which remains outstanding. Judges found that the evidence presented by the Prosecutor showed reasonable grounds to believe that Sudanese President Omar al Bashir is responsible for genocide by killing, causing serious bodily injury or mental harm and by deliberating inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction of the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups in Darfur.
Unfortunately for the victims in Darfur, their suffering continues because of lack of implementation of the arrest warrant. This April marks genocide awareness month and I call on all States, whether parties to the Rome Statute or not, to cooperate with the ICC in seeking/pursuing accountability for genocide. As we observea moment of silence for past genocides, we must not forget victims of the Darfur genocide.
To the Government of Sudan and other parties to the conflict, I remind you of your legal obligations to comply with Security Council Resolution 1593 adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. To ICC States Parties, I remind you of yourcooperation duties under the Rome Statute. The Office of the Prosecutor appreciates the cooperation it has received to date from many states and international and regional organisations. But more can, must and should be done. Consistent concerted efforts are needed toenforce the warrants and ensure justice at last for the victims in Darfur.
To Contracting Parties to the Genocide Convention I recall article VI of the Convention which calls for persons charged with genocide to be tried “by a competent tribunal of the State in the territory of which the act was committed, or by such international penal tribunal as may have jurisdiction”.
The International Criminal Court is an independent, permanent court that investigates and prosecutes persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern namely, genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Office of the Prosecutor is currently investigating and prosecuting such crimes in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, the Darfur region of Sudan, Kenya, Libya, Ivory Coast and Mali. The Office is also conducting preliminary examinations in Colombia, Georgia, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Honduras, Guinea and South Korea.