Sunday, June 19, 2011

ICC in the Media, Update #32

This week the news coverage of the ICC has spanned a range of topics. President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, wanted by the ICC for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, announced that he will not attend an economic conference in Malaysia next week. Sources have reported that his failure to attend is unconnected to the warrants for his arrest, however, human rights groups (including Amnesty International) have called for his arrest should he choose to attend. Bashir is also scheduled to visit China next week after receiving an invitation from President Hu Jintao. The visit is reported to include talks to ensure peace in Sudan, but amidst reports that state-imposed violence in on the rise in Sudan NGOs and IGOs have called for China to withdraw its invitation and arrest Bashir. Last week the President of the Ivory Coast announced that the ICC is investigating crimes committed following their post-election crisis that claimed approximately 3,000 lives. The Office of the Prosecutor is currently collecting evidence that he will submit to the ICC judges to request the opening of a formal investigation. Victims of election violence have been given a deadline of 30 days to submit testimony to the Prosecutor in support of opening an investigation. Last week ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II's Presiding Judge Trendafilova endorsed a compromise to have the ICC trials held within Kenya. However, the "Kenya Six" are widely expected to object to this plan in favor of locally-administered trials, despite the fact that international experts believe that such proceedings will not be fully fair and independent. In other news, some files relating to the ICC's Libya investigation have been released. The files reportedly reveal a high-level government policy of bombarding and starving populations in Libya. U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton publicly condemned Libya's policy of rape that the Office of the Prosecutor released a report on last week. The Jean-Pierre Bemba trial is continuing at the ICC with the Prosecutor bringing forward its twenty-third witness. In other news, government officials have reportedly said that the U.S. is gathering evidence on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a possible referral to the ICC. Photo Credit: CNN.

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