ICC statement: Prosecutor opens Darfur investigation

The Hague, 6 June 2005


The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, has decided to open an investigation into the situation in Darfur, Sudan.

Following the referral from the United Nations Security Council on 31 March 2005, the Prosecutor received the document archive of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur. In addition, the Office of the Prosecutor requested information from a variety of sources, leading to the collection of thousands of documents. The Office also interviewed over 50 independent experts. After thorough analysis the Prosecutor concluded that the statutory requirements for initiating an investigation were satisfied.

The investigation will be impartial and independent, focusing on the individuals who bear the greatest criminal responsibility for crimes committed in Darfur.

Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said:
"The investigation will require sustained cooperation from national and international authorities. It will form part of a collective effort, complementing African Union and other initiatives to end the violence in Darfur and to promote justice. Traditional African mechanisms can be an important tool to complement these efforts and achieve local reconciliation."

The Prosecutor calls on all partners to provide his Office with the information, evidence and practical support needed to carry out his mandate.

For information, please contact the Spokesperson of the Prosecutor, Yves Sorokobi +31 (0) 70 515 85 60.

Background

The ICC has jurisdiction over grave crimes under international law committed on the territory of States Parties or by nationals of States Parties. In addition, the Court has jurisdiction over situations in any State where the situation is referred by the United Nations (UN) Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

When the Prosecutor receives a referral, the Statute requires that the Prosecutor carry out a preliminary examination, or analysis, of the available information in order to determine whether there is reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation. To carry out this analysis, the Prosecutor may seek information from States, organs of the United Nations, intergovernmental or non-governmental organizations, or other reliable sources.

In making his determination the Prosecutor must consider:

a) jurisdiction: the information available provides a reasonable basis to believe that a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court has been or is being committed;

b) the admissibility test: the situation would involve cases that would be admissible, which requires consideration of gravity and of whether national proceedings are being genuinely carried out with respect to the case;

c) the interests of justice: taking into account the gravity of the crime and the interests of victims, there are nonetheless substantial reasons to believe that an investigation would not serve the interests of justice

In selecting cases, the Prosecutor will consider gravity, admissibility and interests of justice, and will continue to analyze any national proceedings in Sudan that may relate to particular cases.

The UN Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the Prosecutor of the ICC in Resolution 1593 (2005)on 31 March 2005. The resolution requires Sudan and all other parties to the conflict in Darfur to cooperate with the Court. It also invites the Court and the African Union to discuss practical arrangements that will facilitate the work of the Prosecutor and of the Court, including the possibility of conducting proceedings in the region.

The International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur was established by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in October 2004. The Commission reported to the UN in January 2005 that there was reason to believe that crimes against humanity and war crimes had been committed in Darfur and recommended that the situation be referred to the ICC.

Multiple sources of information have been used for the OTP analysis, including reports from the Government of Sudan, the African Union, the United Nations, and other organisations, local and international media, academic experts and others.

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