Saturday, March 10, 2007

Sudan announces Darfur trials

Since the ICC named two suspects in its investigation into the atrocities in Darfur, as noted here last month, Sudan has continued to maintain that it does not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction and will not surrender its citizens to the court. Now, Sudan has announced that it will try three defendants in its own Special Criminal Court on the Events in Darfur (SCCED). If this is an effort to preclude ICC admissibility, it is not likely to succeed. Of course, Sudan can invoke the doctrine of complementarity to protect only those of its citizens whom it has genuinely investigated and, if necessary, prosecuted, for any alleged international crimes. Viewed in light of the Sudanese government's attitude toward Darfur and the SCCED's record thus far, the legitimacy of the proposed trials is itself dubious. Beyond this, only one of the two suspects named by the ICC, militia leader Ali Kushayb, is among Sudan’s three named defendants. The other, former government minister Ahmad Harun, is not. Sudan has, moreover, presented no evidence suggesting that Mr. Harun has been investigated at all, much less cleared of any wrongdoing by the Sudanese government.

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