Nigeria | Sudan |
Politics | Society | Human rights
Little support for Nigeria's Darfur court
afrol News, 18 March - The proposal by Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo to refer war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region to a special African court has found little support. African civil society groups call for an immediate referral of the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Also in the US, solutions are sought to avoid the Bush administration's objection to the ICC in the case of Darfur.
The Darfur Consortium, an umbrella group of about 40 primarily Africa-based civil society organisations, today expressed concern at the proposal by the Nigerian government for an African Panel to pursue justice in Darfur. The groups reiterated their call for an immediate referral of the situation in Darfur to the ICC.
The civil society umbrella group asked Nigerian President Obasanjo to "uphold the wishes and aspirations of many African governments that prefer the ICC to any other mechanism to try the heinous crimes committed in Darfur."
- As chairman of the Africa Union, Mr Obasanjo has a particular obligation to respect the wishes of the African continent, said Dismas Nkunda, a representative of the civil society groups. "Not only do many African governments see a referral to the ICC as the best way of bringing justice and accountability to Darfur, but the people of Darfur also see such referral as a protection mechanism from the continued attacks by government forces, Mr Nkunda added.
The groups added that Mr Obasanjo "should be supporting these efforts instead of derailing them." Moreover, the ICC is supported by African states, a majority of whom have signed the Rome Statute establishing the Court and many of whom are parties to the ICC.
A major problem so far has been the objection by the Washington government to refer the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region to the ICC. The US, which has veto powers in the UN security Council, has so far been stopping this initiative due to the Bush administration's objections to the ICC in general. Washington will not let the world court try and sentence US citizens accused of war crimes.
Among civil society groups in North America, however, there is a great acceptance of the ICC in general and in particular of a reference of the Darfur war to the ICC. Several pressure groups therefore are urging the Bush administration to make an exception in this particular case, were Washington otherwise has exerted the strongest pressure on the UN to act.
Others are trying to help Washington to find solutions that will be in line with its general objections to the ICC. The American Bar Association this week wrote to President George Bush, applauding his "tremendous leadership" in responding to the atrocities in Darfur, but urged him to permit the UN Security Council to refer the matter to the ICC as the best way to "end the genocide there."
- The ICC has an existing permanent infrastructure and a professional corps of investigators, lawyers, judges and other staff experienced in the investigation and adjudication of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide, the association's leader, Robert Grey said.
Mr Grey argued that Washington's concerns about the ICC having jurisdiction over US nationals "are not applicable in this case" and that the US could enable a referral to the Court without making an affirmative statement on support for it. "The Security Council resolution could restrict the ICC's mandate strictly to investigation and prosecution of Sudanese citizens (thus excluding any Americans), ICC crimes on Sudanese territory, and a time period that covers Darfur atrocities," he said.
By staff writer
© afrol News
- Create an e-mail alert for Nigeria news
- Create an e-mail alert for Sudan news
- Create an e-mail alert for Politics news
- Create an e-mail alert for Society news
- Create an e-mail alert for Human rights news
On the Afrol News front page now
|Kenyatta secures tight victory in Kenya|
afrol News - The official election results in Kenya have finally been announced, and Uhuru Kenyatta managed to win the first poll round outright with a narrow 50.7 percent. But the main opponent, PM Raila Odinga, is filing a vote rigging complaint to the courts.