EU Promises to Enforce ICC Arrest Warrants

by Kevin Jon Heller

I noted a few days ago that the Security Council is unlikely to pass a resolution deferring the Prosecutor’s investigation of Bashir, given the number of non-permanent and permanent members of the Council who are supporters of the ICC.  I think that position is even more sound in light of the European Union’s promise today — on the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Rome Statute, obviously not a coincidence — to enforce all arrest warrants issued by the Court:

The European Union (EU) has vowed to ensure swift enforcement of all arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and called on non-signatories of the Rome Convention to urgently sign into the treaty, PANA reports.

In a statement marking the 10th anniversary of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the EU stated that the rest of the world was under obligation to bring to an end, impunity "for the most serious crimes which shock the conscience of humanity".

"ICC is a key tool, both in combating impunity when the most serious crimes, striking at the very essence of humanity are committed and in preventing the use of violence," said EU Presidency in the statement issued Thursday.

[snip]

"The EU undertakes to do everything in its power to support the court and help ensure that all arrest warrants are swiftly enforced," the EU President, currently held by France, said in the 10-point statement.

The fact that the President of the EU is French is particularly significant, of course, given that France has a veto at the Security Council.

The EU’s strong statement is a welcome antidote to the African Union’s overheated criticism of the Prosecutor’s allegations.  (The fitting AfricaNews headline: "African Union at Omar Al Bashir’s Rescue.")  And I can’t help but be amused by the comments made by Uganda’s Minister for International Affairs, Henry Okello Oryem, in response to Bashir’s appeal to Museveni for help:

In response to Khartoum’s request for help, Mr Oryem said Uganda would rally behind the African Union which on Monday called for a suspension of the warrants of arrest until the "primary problems" in Darfur and South Sudan were sorted out.

"Our position will be the same as that of the African Union. By having bad relations with Sudan in the past, does not mean we abrogate our position with AU,"Mr Oryem said. "In principal I don’t think it is proper to indict a sitting head of state. I think it is dangerous."

Gee, I wonder why?  Could Oryem’s position have anything to do with the fact that Museveni doesn’t exactly have the cleanest hands himself — and may well someday find himself the target of the Prosecutor’s investigations into the situations in Northern Uganda and the DRC?

http://opiniojuris.org/2008/07/18/eu-promises-to-enforce-icc-arrest-warrant/

Comments are closed.