Friday, December 02, 2011

ICC in the Media, Update #53

This week the ICC issued an arrest warrant for former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo for crimes against humanity committed after he lost last year's election and refused to cede power. The violence reportedly led to more than 3,000 deaths. Soon after the warrant was issued Gbagbo was transferred to the ICC, the first head of state to be taken into the Court's custody. The ICC Prosecutor made a statement saying that Gbagbo is the first to be arrested by the ICC, but that the ICC is investigating others involved and "there are more to come." Gbagbo has not yet made a pleading before the ICC, but has denied responsibility for the violence.
Last week the Kenya high court decided that Kenya, as a member state to the ICC, is under a duty to arrest President Bashir of Sudan if he ever enters Kenya again. Reportedly Bashir has given an ultimatum to Kenya, telling them to overturn the judgment within the next two weeks. Government representatives have reportedly said that this is not an option because the judiciary is independent under the Constitution. Last week the Prosecutor began a preliminary investigation into sex crimes potentially committed in Libya by Gaddafi's troops. The Prosecutor has stated there is evidence of a government "official rape policy" including the distribution of Viagra-type drugs to soldiers. Last week the Assembly of States Parties met to discuss the identity of the ICC's next Prosecutor. At the meeting it was agreed that current ICC Deputy Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda of Gambia should succeed Ocampo. She is to be formally elected by the Assembly on December 12, 2011. Last week the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights emphasized the urgency for a Security Council resolution referring the situation in Syria to the ICC. The Council has passed a resolution condemning the "gross and systematic violations of human rights" in the country, but has not referred the situation to the Hague. Photo credit: Reuters & Reuters.

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