ICC-Sudan: first step towards justice for the people of Darfur

27 Feb, 2007 | Press Releases

In a historic move, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court today presented evidence to the Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC, requesting that summons to appear be issued for two individuals alleged to bear criminal responsibility for crimes committed in Darfur. No Peace Without Justice welcomes this signal of the determination of the ICC and the international community to end impunity and to respond to the cries for justice from the people of Darfur through the broad range of charges alleged in the Prosecutor’s application, including murder, forcible transfer of a population, persecution and rape.

NPWJ calls on the Prosecutor to continue his investigations not simply into those who committed the crimes, but into those at the top of the chain of command, who are responsible for the instigation and planning of policies and campaigns involving large-scale violations of international criminal law: those are the persons who bear the greatest responsibility for the crimes committed in Darfur.

NPWJ urges the Sudanese authorities to cooperate fully with the ICC and ensure the presence of those individuals summoned to appear before the ICC. The Government of Sudan at the Fifth Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court, in December 2006, stated that it had “begun an intensive process of consultation and cooperation with the Court”. This is the time to prove that statement in practice. NPWJ further urges the Sudanese authorities to make good on its promises to have national trials for the crimes committed in Darfur.

The International Criminal Court is founded on the principle of complementarity: if Sudan proves actually willing and able to undertake its own fair and effective investigations and prosecutions, action by the ICC will become unnecessary.

Most of all, there is a pressing need for the people of Darfur, as the victims of these horrendous crimes, to be informed and engaged in the work being undertaken in their name. Since 2005, the International Criminal Court has promised to engage communities in Darfur in a process of constructive interaction with the Court, designed to promote understanding and support for its mandate, to manage expectations and to enable those communities to follow and understand the international criminal justice process: NPWJ calls on all organs of the ICC to keep this promise.