Every six months, the Prosecutor of the ICC reports to the UN Security Council on the Darfur-situation. Every six months, the Prosecutor brings no news and repeats her calls for help. Every six months, the members of the Security Council agree and disagree on her report and criticism, albeit they agree to not act upon her calls. In June 2016, the Prosecutor delivered her 23rd report about the situation in Darfur. And very similar to the 22nd report (here) she cannot deliver real news; too few developments took place while “grave crimes continue to be committed in Darfur” (Statement of the ICC Prosecutor).
As always, the Prosecutor laments on the Council’s inaction and even ignorance of the ICC’s concerns. Not only is the Council still failing to enforce outstanding arrest warrants, the Council has yet to respond to the ICC’s communications. These refer to failures by state parties to fulfil their obligations under international law. Most prominently, the Prosecutor reports on the aftermath of the unfortunate incident in South Africa last year (here and here). In March 2016, the Supreme Court of Appeal had issued a judgement, in essence upholding a prior condemnation of the governments refusal to fulfill its legal obligations (a review of the Supreme Court of Appeal’s judgement will follow on these pages). The dreadful event in South Africa has not hindered Omar al-Bashir from traveling freely. This includes visits to Djibouti and Uganda – both state parties to the ICC-Statute – as well as non-state parties.
With regard to the Banda-trial, which had been postponed indefinitely (here and here), the Prosecutor can only repeat that there is no new date for a trial. Banda is still on the loose and not likely to appear in The Hague. The OTP monitors ongoing events in Darfur, even though new investigations are not being opened (here, here and here). The Prosecutor cites several incidents in which casualties have been reported, allegedly also by the Sudanese Rapid Support Forces. Whether or not any proceedings will be opened seems to depend on the actions by the Security Council. And because the Council fails to act, it is likely that no new investigations will be opened in the Darfur-situation.
After her briefing, the Council’s members answered. To no surprise, nothing new was stated. Some states reiterated their opposition to the Court while other members reiterated their support for the Court and joined the Prosecutor in her calls for support. As stated, however, no member state took action. And as usual, the Sudanese representative reacted to the report with the old responses of imperialism, injustice, illegality and the fact that the Darfur-situation demands a peaceful solution to be found within a political process. It is noticeable that the Prosecutor and the Sudanese representative had a bigger clash than in past briefings, even if the hostility has not reached the heights of June 2012, when the predecessor of the current Prosecutor and the Sudanese representative had a major and very personal clash (here).
Again, a report of the OTP illustrates the shortcomings of the Darfur-situation and highlights the need to act. And yet again, the Council fails to act and it will continue to fail. In December 2016, when the 24th report is due, the report will most likely contain the same aspects, with minor changes in detail.