ICC Silliness Watch — Media Edition
Regular readers no doubt know that I am obsessed with the media’s seemingly congenital inability to grasp the law and politics of the ICC. My new favorite comes via the BBC, in an article about the impending arrest warrant for Bashir:
Two Sudanese groups have formally requested the International Criminal Court (ICC) not to issue an arrest for President Omar al-Bashir.
He is accused of responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity during the conflict in Darfur.
Experts warn that the motion filed could lead to a delay in the judges’ decision on whether to issue a warrant.
But some see the two groups – the Sudan Workers Trade Unions Federation and the recently-formed Sudan International Defence Group – as government proxies.
Who are these ICC “experts” who believe the “formal request” will delay the proceedings against Bashir? Your guess is as good as mine — the article doesn’t identify any expert by name. Not that we should be surprised: no one who actually was expert regarding the ICC would offer such a ridiculous warning. First, “formal request” is a misnomer in itself, because nothing in the Rome Statute permits NGOs to ask the Pre-Trial Chamber to defer a decision on an arrest warrant. (They are entitled, by contrast, to submit information to the OTP concerning possible crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.) Second, why would the Pre-Trial Chamber take a “formal request” by two NGOs — NGOs that might well be GOs, as the article itself acknowledges — more seriously than official statements by China, the African Union, and the Arab League opposing Bashir’s arrest? Does that make any sense at all?
I expect such tripe from lesser news agencies. The BBC should do better.