June 2012 Monthly Forecast

Posted 1 June 2012
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AFRICA

Sudan/Darfur

Expected Council Action
In early June, the Council is scheduled to receive the biannual briefing from Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Sudan.  Ocampo is expected to deliver his report in a public meeting of the Council, followed by a private meeting. (This will be his final briefing to the Council as ICC Prosecutor, as he is expected to leave his post mid-month. He will be succeeded by Fatou Bensouda of Gambia.)

Key Recent Developments
Ocampo last briefed the Council on the work of the ICC in Sudan on 15 December 2011. He outlined the evidence that the ICC had mustered against the various Sudanese officials and rebels that it had indicted. He also noted that only days prior to the briefing his office had requested an arrest warrant for Sudan’s Minister of Defence, Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, for crimes against humanity and war crimes he allegedly committed while serving as Interior Minister and Special Representative of the President in Darfur. In particular, Ocampo said that Hussein “played a central role in coordinating the crimes, including in recruiting, mobilizing, funding, arming, training and deploying the militia/Janjaweed as part of the Government of Sudan forces, with the knowledge that these forces would commit crimes.” 

Ocampo also emphasised the importance of implementing ICC arrest warrants and respecting Security Council resolutions. He called for the AU and the Arab League to play a key part in helping to find a solution that respects the authority of the Council and the decisions of ICC judges.

Regarding the situation in Darfur more generally, Ocampo said that, despite numerous requests from the Council, aerial bombardments continued and the Janjaweed (a pro-Khartoum militia) had not been disarmed. 

Ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali-Osman (Sudan) also addressed the Council in December. He said that Ocampo’s remarks contained “baseless accusations” and ignored improved security conditions in Darfur.  Ali-Osman also noted that Ocampo had not mentioned the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, which he said reflected the Sudanese government’s desire for peace.

On 1 March, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Hussein for crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in Darfur between August 2003 and March 2004. (Ocampo had requested the pre-trial chamber to issue the warrant for Hussein’s arrest, on 2 December 2011.) 

On 20 April, a formed police unit that had been patrolling a camp for internally displaced persons in Western Darfur was fired upon while returning to base. Four Togolese peacekeepers were wounded in the assault, and one later died. The Council adopted a press statement (SC/10623) on 24 April condemning the attack and calling on the Sudanese government to bring those responsible to justice.

The Council was last briefed on the situation in Darfur by Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for peacekeeping operations, on 26 April. During the briefing, he said that the potential for a resumption of negotiations between the Sudanese government and rebel movements that have not signed the Doha Document did not look favourable. He explained that the Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi have indicated a desire to discuss national economic and political reforms, while the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid has said that it will only negotiate when the government deals with the underlying sources of the conflict. (The Sudanese government has said that it is only willing to discuss the situation in Darfur, and in this respect, only particular elements of the Doha Document related to security arrangements and political appointments.)

Ladsous also delineated the findings of the review of the AU/UN Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) uniformed personnel that the UN Secretariat conducted earlier this year in consultation with the AU in accordance with resolution 2003. He noted that the review recommended reductions of 3,260 military personnel, 770 police personnel, and more than 1,000 individuals participating in UNAMID in various technical capacities (e.g. reconnaissance, engineering and aviation). According to Ladsous, the review further indicated that a large number of UNAMID infantry could be redeployed from the Chadian and Libyan borders with Darfur to the relatively populous belt of territory that goes through the centre of Darfur from Chad to Kordofan state. (The rationale for this recommendation, according to Ladsous, is that Sudan’s relations with Chad and Libya have improved, as has security along its border with these countries.) 

Key Issues
An ongoing key issue is the Council’s unwillingness to act on requests by the ICC Prosecutor to take measures against states parties to the Rome Statute that do not fulfil their responsibilities and how this failure to act erodes the effectiveness of the Court and the credibility of the Council’s own binding resolutions. (The ICC has informed the Council of visits of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the ICC for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, to Chad, Djibouti, Kenya and Malawi—all parties to the Rome Statute—without a response from the Council.)  

Another key issue is whether the ICC indictments of key Sudanese officials hinder the prospects for constructive diplomacy and negotiations and, if these indictments do have such an effect, whether the desire for justice and ending impunity should take precedence.  A related issue is whether a compromise solution can (or should) be found that balances penalties and inducements in a way that does not make the so-called “peace versus justice” debate a zero-sum proposition for either side.   

Options
One option would be to listen to the briefing and not take action at the current time. 

Another option would be to hold an informal interactive dialogue on the role of the ICC in Sudan that includes the participation of regional organisations such as the AU and the Arab League, as well as members of the AU Peace and Security Council. 

While unlikely, the Council could also remind all UN member states that resolution 1593, which referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC, is binding and indicate the Council’s intention to follow up on any instance of non-compliance.    

Council Dynamics
The majority of the Council’s current members are not parties to the Rome Statute. Regarding the ICC’s work in Sudan, there are differences of opinion on the Council, especially between those that are signatories of the Rome Statute and those that appear to be critical of the Court’s pursuit of Bashir.  In recent years, some members of the Council have argued for a deferral of the case against Bashir under article 16 of the Rome Statute. (Article 16 allows for a one-year suspension of investigation or prosecution of a case so long as the Council adopts a resolution for this purpose, one that could be renewed annually.) Others on the Council have been opposed to such a deferral.  

The UK is the lead country on Darfur.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/2003 (29 July 2011) extended UNAMID’s mandate until 31 July 2012. 
  • S/RES/1593 (31 March 2005) referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC.

Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2012/231 (17 April 2012) was the most recent quarterly report of the Secretary-General on UNAMID.
  • S/2012/166 (19 March 2012) contained the Framework for AU and UN facilitation of the Darfur peace process. 
  • S/2011/252 (15 April 2011) was on implementation of the Darfur Political Process.

Meeting Records

  • S/PV.6762 (26 April 2012) was the Council’s discussion of the Secretary-General’s last report on UNAMID. 
  • S/PV.6688 (15 December 2011) was the latest briefing by the ICC Prosecutor.

Other

  • SC/10623 (24 April 2012) was a Council press statement condemning an attack on UNAMID peacekeepers. 

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