ICC referring Sudan to UN over wanted Darfur rebel leader

19th November 2015, Comments 0 comments

The International Criminal Court on Thursday rapped Sudan for failing to arrest a Darfur rebel leader wanted on war crimes charges and said it would refer Khartoum to the UN Security Council.

In September 2014, the Hague-based ICC issued an arrest warrant against Abdallah Banda, saying it was "unlikely" he would voluntarily attend his war crimes trial, which has been postponed indefinitely.

Banda faces three war crimes charges for his alleged role in an attack on African Union peacekeepers in September 2007 in northern Darfur.

His trial for his role in the deadly attack on an AU military base in which 12 peacekeepers died was supposed to start on November 18, 2014.

But late Thursday, more than a year after the arrest warrant was issued, the judges at the world's only permanent war crimes tribunal acknowledged Banda remained at large.

"By disregarding the requests to arrest and surrender Mr Banda... Sudan failed to comply with requests to cooperate with the court," the panel of three judges found.

This was "contrary to the provisions" of the court's founding statute and the UN Security Council which the judges said "requires Sudan to arrest and surrender Mr Banda."

Backing a request from prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, the judges ordered the case to be referred to the UN Security Council for further action.

Although Khartoum is not a signatory to the Rome Statute under which the ICC was founded, it is a member of the United Nations.

And an earlier UN resolution has ordered the country to cooperate with the ICC.

Banda last appeared voluntarily before the court in June 2010 where he urged other war crimes suspects to surrender.

Four others are wanted for war crimes in Darfur: Sudanese Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, former Sudanese government minister Ahmad Harun, pro-government Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb and Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, whom prosecutors accuse of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur.

Bashir continues to defy an ICC arrest warrant as he travels around the continent. A case is pending before the ICC after South Africa failed to arrest him during a meeting of the African Union on its soil earlier this year.

© 2015 AFP

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