Even the U.N. Is Ignoring the ICC Arrest Warrants in Sudan

by Julian Ku

OK, that’s not quite it, but still this story (weeks old I know) is somewhat surprising.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Sudan last week flew a man indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court to a peace meeting in the flashpoint Abyei region, U.N. officials said on Tuesday.

The mission, known as UNMIS, transported Ahmed Haroun, a Sudanese provincial governor, to Abyei last Friday for a meeting to try to reconcile feuding tribes, officials said.

At least 36 people have died in clashes between the Arab nomad Misseriya and the Dinka Ngok, linked to Sudan’s non-Arab south. The violence coincided with a week-long referendum in the south on independence from Khartoum.

Oil-rich Abyei is close to the Sudan’s north-south border and is the subject of a dispute over which side it will belong to if, as expected, southerners vote to secede.

Technically, I do not think the U.N. has any legal obligation to respect or enforce ICC arrest warrants. But it is a little weird to blatantly ignore them as well.  Still, it seems like, given the tense situation in Sudan, that this sort of support was necessary.

http://opiniojuris.org/2011/01/21/even-the-un-is-ignoring-the-icc-arrest-warrants-in-sudan/

3 Responses

  1. Julian,

    I agree the optics are bad.  But it is important to distinguish between “the UN” and specific UN peacekeeping missions, the latter of which have very specific mandates that do not always accord with the UN’s much broader one.  UNMIS’s mandate is specifically limited to helping enforce the CPA.

    UNPROFOR, the UN peacekeeping force in the former Yugoslavia, also did not arrest war criminals, even though the ICTY issued numerous indictments during its existence.  I hardly think that indicates the UN didn’t take the ICTY seriously.

  2. I also agree that this is a very odd situation especially if one takes into consideration the fact that as Sudan is not a signatory to the Rome Statute.  The ICC gained jurisdiction through action of the Security Council.  I am not as well versed in the inner workings of the UN, as the previous poster, but it seems very incongruent that an arm of the UN would contradict an action of the Security Council.

  3. In DRC, MONUSCO played a very active role in the recent arrest of a senior Congolese military officer for his alledged involvement in a mass rape. Though it is not clear if the Mission was responsible for the actual arrest of the individual, it seems that the officials of the Mission took it as their responsiblity to ensure that happened.

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