March 9, 2015 / 3:08 PM / 3 years ago

International court: Sudan has failed to cooperate in al-Bashir case

Omar Hassan al-Bashir addresses Sufi supporters during a campaign rally of the ruling National Congress Party for the upcoming presidential election, in Omdurman March 8, 2015. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court ruled on Monday that Sudan had failed to cooperate in its war crimes investigation of President Omar al-Bashir and it plans to inform the United Nations Security Council.

The court, which investigates war crimes and grave violations of human rights, issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir in March 2009. He is suspected of crimes including alleged genocide in Darfur province, but rejects the court’s authority.

The ICC has no police force of its own and relies on member states to cooperate with its investigation. Since its creation in 2002, it has had two convictions, both in Congo.

The court said in a statement a pre-trial chamber had found Sudan had “failed to cooperate with the court by not arresting and surrendering” al-Bashir. Officials had also consistently refused “to engage in any dialogue” with the court.

In December, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she had suspended her inquiries in Sudan because the Security Council had done too little to support her efforts there.

While the Security Council has the power to authorize penalties, ranging from embargos to military action, few expect it to impose penalties severe enough to prompt Sudan’s government to hand over its own president.

The ICC has jurisdiction to carry out investigations in states that have signed its founding treaty and in situations that it has been instructed to investigate by the Security Council.

In 2005 the Council asked the court’s prosecutor to investigate possible war crimes in Darfur province. The Darfur conflict, where mainly non-Arab tribes took up arms against an Arab-led Khartoum government they accused of discrimination, has taken up to 300,000 lives and displaced millions.

In Monday’s statement, the court said that if the council did not follow up on its ruling, any referred cases in the future would lack credibility.

Reporting By Toby Sterling and Thomas Escritt

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