Saturday, February 05, 2005

# Posted 1:24 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

ASK AND THOU SHALT RECEIVE: Yesterday, I wanted to know how the ICC could enforce an arrest warrant for war criminals in the Sudan. Today, veteran Human Rights Watcher David Holiday points me to the HRW commentary on Section I, Article 59(4) of the ICC charter (Available here as a PDF), entitled "Issuing an International Arrest Warrant":
Recommendation: The Pre-Trial Chamber should have the power to take appropriate measures when an arrest warrant, issued under Article 59, has not been executed. Specifically, such measures should include the issuance of an international warrant for the arrest of the accused, (240) delivered to all states and binding on state parties, or ordering the freezing of assets of the accused without prejudice to the rights of third parties. Where the prosecutor satisfies the Court that the failure to execute a warrant was due to the failure of a state party to cooperate with the Tribunal, the Court may so communicate to other state parties. (241)

Comment: The Court must develop a mechanism towards ensuring that accused persons cannot escape conviction by absconding or otherwise refusing to submit to the jurisdiction of the Court. The Court should be empowered to insist that all state parties share responsibility for bringing to trial those indicted by the Court. The adoption of this recommendation would mean that, in the event of an accused person being shielded from prosecution by the State on whose territory she or he is residing, the accused could be arrested on entering the territory of another state party to the treaty, or cooperative non-state party.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that I don't know jack about jurisprudence. But what HRW's commentary seems to be saying is that unless NATO provides the muscle, the ICC is powerless. So how about it Jacques? Gerhard? Want to prove to Middle America that Europe actually cares about genocide? This is your chance.

Anyhow, while Jacques & Gerhard are thinking it over, it is possible that the simple threat of an ICC indictment may prevent further atrocities. As Randy Paul explains [via e-mail]:
It was the announcement of the indictment of Charles Taylor in the Sierra Leone ad-hoc tribunal that provided the impetus to get him out of power in Liberia.
My sense is that Taylor was in a much weaker position than the Sudanese goverment is now, but hey, you never know. If I lived in Darfur, I would put NATO on my speed-dial.
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