n African Security Review - Justice empowered or justice hampered : the International Criminal Court in Darfur : feature

Volume 15, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1024-6029
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It came as a surprise to many international observers when, on 31 March 2005, the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1593, which referred the situation in Darfur to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. Some celebrated this event as initiating a new era in which international criminal justice would prevail, but they might have done well to consider the objections immediately raised by the representatives of the Sudanese government, which was not a party to the <i>ICC, &lt;/i&gt; a point that created a series of impediments to the implementation of the resolution. For all that the &lt;i&gt;ICC&lt;/i&gt; has been charged with investigating crimes against humanity in Darfur, its investigators are being prevented from seeking the evidence on the ground essential to any successful prosecution. The Sudanese government has so far maintained its obstructive position, arguing that it is capable of handling such cases within its own sovereign jurisdiction. The imperative of excluding the &lt;i&gt;ICC&lt;/i&gt; from Darfur has contributed to Khartoum's objections to the deployment of a &lt;i&gt;UN&lt;/i&gt; force to replace the African Union mission there. In sum: the challenges faced by the &lt;i&gt;ICC&lt;/i&gt; in Darfur demonstrate that international criminal justice does not operate in a political vacuum.

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