Prosecutor rebukes Security Council inaction over Sudan
An international court said Friday that it would suspend its investigation into war crimes in Sudan unless "a dramatic shift" took place in the UN Security Council's approach to arresting charged suspects Anadolu Agency reported
"It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to appear before you and purport to be updating you when all I am doing is repeating the same things I have said over and over again," said Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, also known as the ICC.
She spoke to the Security Council that in 2005 referred the violence in the western Darfur region to the prosecutor, the first such Security Council referral.
The council's lack of action in pursuing Sudanese officials charged by the court, including President Omar al-Bashir, as a "lack of foresight," she said.
In 2009, the Hague-based court charged al-Bashir with war crimes and crimes against humanity - the first time the court sought the arrest of a sitting head of state. A second arrest warrant followed in 2010 that charged al-Bashir with genocide.
"Given this council's lack of foresight on what should happen in Darfur, I am left with no choice but to hibernate investigative activities in Darfur as I shift resources to other urgent cases," said Bensouda.
The security situation in the region was deteriorating and the brutality of crimes being committed was becoming more pronounced, she said.
Security Council action on Sudan appears unlikely, as China, one of the five permanent members yielding veto power, has been a long-time ally of the Khartoum government.
The Rome Statute, which established the ICC, reserves a role for the Security Council that can refer humanitarian crimes committed in any state, regardless of whether it is a party to the treaty.
The Sudanese government, which has not ratified the statute, denied the charges and proclaimed Bashir's innocence.
The UN says that as many as 300,000 may have died in Darfur since 2003 when a long simmering ethnic conflict turned into a bloody civil war between rebel groups and Sudanese government forces.
Two million people have been forced to flee their homes with hundreds of thousands going westward to refugee camps in neighboring Chad.