ICC prosecutors have been consistent in their calls for support from the Security Council to address the blatant impunity continuing in Sudan. But the Security Council has been just as consistent in its lack of support.
On Friday, citing lack of support by the UN Security Council, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court announced the suspension of the investigation into atrocities in Darfur.
It was the 20th briefing by an ICC prosecutor before the UN Security Council since the Council referred the case of Darfur to the Court in 2005.
The suspension comes as Bashir has blocked investigations of reported mass rapes, demanded the removal of UN peacekeepers from Darfur, and just as conditions in Darfur have taken a turn for the worse.
And while conditions have gotten worse in Sudan this year, treatment of the man behind the atrocities in Darfur Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has gotten better. Bashir – wanted on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide – has been allowed to visit nine countries in the past year alone, with hardly a whimper of condemnation.
Nor have these travels been much of a secret. If the Security Council needs help in tracking Bashir’s movements, there is a handy interactive map readily available at www.BashirWatch.org.
It is not a matter of not knowing but of failing to act. As U.S. Deputy Ambassador David Pressman put it, channeling the prosecutor’s hibernation metaphor, “We must collectively and urgently wake from our slumber.”
It is more than a decade since the genocide in Darfur began, yet the quest for justice has hardly begun. It is long past time that the UN Security Council stepped up to support the court in arresting those charged with responsibility for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Darfur.