In the wake of the latest attack on UN peacekeepers in the Darfur region of Sudan, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has again intimated such incidents may constitute war crimes.
Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda condemned the July 13 killing of seven peacekeepers serving with the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the wounding of 17 military and police personnel.
The ambush carried out by a large unidentified group, which drew condemnation from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council, was one of the most serious attacks against the mission since its deployment in early 2008 and the third in the past few weeks.
The ICC Prosecutor’s office will not hesitate to investigate and prosecute those alleged to have committed such crimes should national authorities fail to, the ICC said.
“The Prosecutor reminds all parties to the conflict that the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction in Darfur and that the intentional directing of attacks against peacekeepers may constitute war crimes,” according to a statement issued by the Prosecutor’s office.
“The Prosecutor calls on the Government of Sudan to carry out a prompt and full investigation and to hold all those responsible to account.”
Situated in The Hague, in the Netherlands, the ICC is an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern – including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes – if national authorities with jurisdiction are unwilling or unable to do so genuinely.
The Darfur region of Sudan is one of eight African situations currently under investigation by the ICC. The others are northern Uganda, the Central African Republic (CAR), the DRC, Kenya, Libya, Mali and Côte d’Ivoire.