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Archive for March, 2010

ICC Warrant a Pain in the Neck for Bashir (The Daily Nation – Kenya)

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir seems to have enjoyed his year as fugitive head of state. Recent boasts and threats would indicate that. A little humility might help.

An interview with German magazine, Der Spiegle, published a week ago today; President Bashir commended the International Criminal Court, ICC. The court last year issued a warrant for his arrest over the Darfur conflict. “My popularity in my home country has unexpectedly multiplied through this warrant.” That’s “a favour which I would never have dreamt of.”

President Bashir remains popular in the North. It’s a different matter in the South. Come next January, the region will hold a referendum on secession or unity with Sudan. Results would provide a better measure of the president’s popularity. Meanwhile, elections for presidencies, national and the south, regional governors, and assemblies, take place next month. International observers irk Mr Bashir.

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Ambassador: U.S. moving to support international court (CNN)

The United States is “prepared to listen and to work with” the International Criminal Court even though the Obama administration is not prepared to sign on to the treaty that established the court, a U.S. diplomat said Wednesday.

The U.S. government announced Tuesday it would support key war crimes prosecutions being pursued by the ICC. They included alleged crimes in four African nations, most notably the indictment of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

“The United States is prepared to listen and to work with the ICC and go through requests that the prosecutor has. And we’re not going to prejudge what those requests are,” Stephen Rapp, U. S. Ambassador-At-Large For War Crimes, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “There may be obstacles under our law. But we’re prepared to do what we can to bring justice to the victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Uganda, and Sudan, and in the Central African Republic.”

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Arabs urged to support war crimes tribunal (The National – UAE)

NEW YORK // Ahead of a review conference on the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal, campaigners are calling on more Arab governments to stand up for human rights by throwing their weight behind the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Supporters of the ICC complain that only three members of the 22-nation Arab League – Jordan, Djibouti and Comoros – have ratified the treaty underpinning the court, the Rome Statute, representing the lowest membership rate of any region.

They describe Arab officials as torn between supporting a court that could be empowered to try Israelis for war crimes in Gaza, but is also prosecuting a sitting Arab head of state, Sudanese President Omar al Bashir, for atrocities.

“The prosecution of al Bashir caused a lot of hesitance among Arab states – especially as this arrest warrant was issued just after the Israeli invasion of Gaza,” said Abeer al Khraisha, the Amman-based co-ordinator for the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, which advocates for the court.

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19 March 2010

Human Rights Watch

More than a decade after a Serbian militia devastated the Kosovo village of Cuska and murdered 41 villagers, the Serbian war crimes prosecutor announced that police arrested 9 men in connection with the killings, bringing victims one step closer to justice.

Human Rights Watch’s 1999 report, “A Village Destroyed,” first documented the massacre in detail. Not only did Human Rights Watch interview eye-witness survivors, but we also obtained photographs of militia members posing with guns in front of burning homes. The surviving villagers identified some of the crime’s alleged perpetrators in the photos.

The massacre took place on May 14, 1999, in the midst of the Kosovo war. At dawn, Serbian fighters entered Cuska and rounded up the villagers. They stole money and jewelry, then separated the men from the women and children. The men, numbering about 30, were forced into three different homes and gunned down in cold blood. The houses were then lit on fire.

For eleven years Human Rights Watch has pressured authorities in Serbia and Kosovo to investigate and prosecute those responsible for war crimes, and our researchers have testified repeatedly before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

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