SIDG & SWTUF Granted Amici Status in Bashir Genocide Appeal

Sudan International Defence Group [SIDG] and Sudan Workers Trade Unions Federation [SWTUF] have won the right to file legal observations on the Appeal lodged by Luis Moreno-Ocampo in the case of the Prosecutor against President Bashir.

Moreno-Ocampo is appealing the decision of the pre-trial chamber to execlude charges of genocide from the arrest warrant issued in March.

Despite stiff resistance from Moreno-Ocampo, the ICC’s appeal chamber ruled that the two groups can act as amici curiae and invited them to submit their observations. The decision gave the prosecutor one week to respond to the filing by the groups.

“It is a small, but an important victory for our groups. The prosecutor tried and failed to stop us from being heard. This time he will have to face counter arguments in court.” said the president of SIDG, Rasheed Gadir, whose group earlier attempt to intervene before the pre-trial chamber was rejected.

Sir Geoffrey Nice QC and Rodney Dixon, representing SIDG and SWTUF filed a 22 pages document containing legal observations to the appeal chamber on Friday, 25 Sept 2009.

SIDG challenges Ocampo’s bid to include Genocide charges against Al Bashir

Sudan International Defence Group [SIDG]and The Sudan Workers Trade Unions Federation [SWTUF], have applied to the ICC to act as “amici curiae” or “friends of the court” in the case of the Prosecutor vs President Al Bashir.

Sir Geoffrey Nice QC and Rodney Dixon, representing the two organizations,  submitted an application opposing the appeal by Luis Moreno-Ocampo to include charges of genocide in the arrest warrant issued for President Al Bashir in March 2009.

Moreno-Ocampo opposed the application by SIDG and SWTUF to be granted amicus status . He filed a response to the appeal chamber of the ICC on 11 August 2009, accusing the two organizations of being government proxies and suggested -for the first time- that the court can appoint a lawyer to represent president Al Bashir. SIDG and SWTUF vehemently deny Ocampo’s accusations.

In response to the prosecutor’s filing, SIDG and SWTUF submitted a hard hitting response accusing the prosecutor of seeking to smear the applicants and disrespecting any views contrary to his own:

the Prosecutor is required by Article 54(1) “[i]n order to establish the truth, [to] extend the investigation to cover all facts and evidence relevant to an assessment of whether there is criminal responsibility under this Statute, and, in doing so, [to] investigate incriminating and exonerating circumstances equally”.  Yet, the Prosecutor is not even prepared to agree to, let alone welcome, the mere filing of a contrary submission..

SIDG wins battle to file 1.8 millions signatures with ICC

The long battle to register the views of over 1.8 millions Sudanese citizens opposed to the accusations of the ICC prosecutor to president Bashir was finally won by SIDG and SWTUF.

The saga started when the registry of the International Criminal Court refused to file over 1.8 millions signatures collected by SIDG as part of its campaign against the involvement of the ICC in Sudan.

The court registry cited a decision by the pre-trial chamber to reject the Application under Rule 103 filed by SIDG and SWTUF in January 2009.

The registry’s decision was met with anger in Sudan, where critics of the court saw it as another example of the contempt with which the court treated the views of the majority of Sudanese people who signed the petition.

Sir Geoffrey Nice QC and Rodney Dixon, acting for SIDG and SWTUF filed a formal application to the court asking for the registry decisin to be reversed. The registry attempted to defend its actions by arguing that the petition was a “political document” and the applicants had no standing before the court but the Chamber disagreed and ordered the registry to file the petitions.

The president of SIDG, Rasheed Gadir said ” Although our application was not successful in bringing the proceedings to a halt, it played a significant role in the debate over the ICC involvement in Sudan, it highlighted many of the shortcomings of the prosecutor’s methods and arguments, and put on the record  a strong case against his application. “

The latest ruling of the court can be viewed here

SIDG files a complaint against rejection of petition

Lawyers acting for Sudan International Defence Group and Sudan Workers Trade Unions Federation have submitted an application to the pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court, requesting a petition signed by more than 1.8 million Sudanese citizens to be included as part of the court records.

The application follows a controversial decision by the court’s registry not include signatures of more than 1.8 millions Sudanese citizens opposed to the court intervention in their country, as part of the official court records.

The application, which was submitted by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC and Rodney Dixon, argues that the petition is part of the annexes to the  Application under Rule 103 that had already been filed.

“As a clarification it should be noted that the petitions are not an additional filing of the Applicants (and not filed as such after the Pre-Trial Chamber’s Decision of 4 February 2009) – they are part of the original filings of the Applicants. As is acknowledged in the Registrar’s Report of 17 February 2009 (which we received this morning) the petitions are annex 4 to the “Supplement to the Application and Annexes” which was filed on 3 February 2009 before the Decision of 4 February 2009. The petitions represent the voice and views of ordinary citizens of The Sudan and were annexed to the filing of 3 February 2009 in order that these views were placed before the court. As an annex to this filing, the petitions do need to be retained by you and filed for the record. We
appreciate that it may be an onerous task to scan each page of the petitions and would have no objections to you filing the petitions for the record in some other way.

In addition, the Applicants have applied for leave to appeal the Decision and the petitions as Annex 4 to the filing of 3 February would thus need to be part of the record for any appeal if leave were granted. Were leave to be refused, as explained above, the petitions as Annex 4 to the filing of 3 February have to be on the record for the accuracy and completeness of the record.

To read the full application, please visit this link

Professor Mamdani says Ocampo obscured the origins of the violence in Darfur

mamdani2pgProfessor Mahmoud Mamdani savaged the case of Luis Moreno Ocampo against president Bashir. In a letter published in the British Media, professor Mamdani, who was chosen as one of the most intelectual 100 persons on earth, said the prosecutor based his case against Bashir on 4 erronous assumptions and said that he fundamentalist pursuit of justice devoid of any political context is more akin to a pursuit of vengence. Prof Mamdani also said that no where in the world do rights exist outside and enabling political context. This is a message to the prosecutor and his allies who insist that justice must be pursued independently of the pursuit of peace.

Prof. Mamdani was writing an open advice to Thabo Mbeki, the ex president of South Africa, who was tasked by the African Union to argue at the Security Council for a deferral of the arrest warrant for president Bashir.

The full text of Prof. Mamdani can be read below: Continue reading

Oxford researcher says the ICC’s no genocide ruling could thwart intervention in Darfur

zachary-manfrediA researcher at Oxford university, England, has published an important paper analysing the effect of the pre trial chamber of the ICC ruling that there is no evidence the Darfur conflict amounted to a genocide.

Zachary Manfredi, of Oxford Transitional Justice Research Centre, said in his paper

Political mobilisation around the Darfur conflict in particular has relied heavily on the fact that genocide generates near unparalleled moral outrage and concern.

The paper further argues that since all the international judicial inquiries have found no substance in the allegations of genocide, this will have an adverse effect on advocacy groups who were eager to label the conflict in Darfur as a genocide:

It may become more difficult for activist groups to continue to rely on support from international legal institution in their campaigns if there is increasing dissent about whether the conflict can be accurately viewed as genocide.

Activist groups appear to have initially viewed the ICC’s warrant as a victory, but over time international legal precedent may impair the ability of these groups to continue to describe the violence in Darfur as a genocide. Political leaders and even constituent groups could make use of the Pre-Trial Chamber’s ruling as a way to downplay the gravity of the violence in Darfur and dispute activist groups’ claims for the necessity of immediate intervention.

Read the paper by Zachary Manfredi here.

Readers of this website would remember that this view is consistent with SIDG’s reaction to the issuance of the arrest warrant (No winners as ICC finds no evidence of genocide in Darfur: 05 March 09)

Jan Pronk: Strategy of ICC prosecutor is wrong

[translation from Dutch daily _de Volkskrant]

‘Strategy prosecutor ICC is wrong’

INTERVIEW, by our reporter Marnix de Bruyne
published 8 March 2009 21:34, last updated 21:37

AMSTERDAM – Former envoy to Sudan criticises the international arrest warrant against president Bashir.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, has achieved the opposite of what he wanted with his request for an international arrest warrant against Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan. This is the opinion of Jan Pronk, former minister of Development Cooperation and former envoy to Sudan of Kofi Annan, the UN chief at the time. In 2006 he was expelled from Sudan.

What are your most important objections to the arrest warrant against Bashir? Continue reading

SIDG urges a re-think of aid agencies expulsion

The Sudan International Defence Group urges the government of Sudan to reconsider its decision to expel 13 foreign aid agencies working in Darfur.

SIDG understands that this is a political decision by a sovereign government, but the interests and welfare of the displaced and vulnerable people who are dependent on the services of the agencies concerned must be one of our top priorities.

We therefore, respectfully ask the president of Sudan to intervene and reconsider the decision. Maybe a reprieve and a warning for some of the agencies can be offered, or, if necessary, the decision can be implemented in phases in order to minimise its impact, and allow time to prepare alternatives; thus ensuring that needy and vulnerable citizens are not affected.

No winners as ICC finds no evidence of genocide in Darfur

There are no winners in Sudan today . The ICC Pre Trial Chamber decision to issue an arrest warrant for president Bashir somehow managed to turn everyone involved with Sudan,  into a loser.

The biggest loser by far is the prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, who saw his central claim of genocide in Darfur rejected by the judges and his credibility damaged beyond repair as a result. Ocampo and the army of organisations and celebrities which supports him will find it impossible, after this court ruling, to continue with their claims of a genocide “on our watch” taking place in Darfur.

The ICC’s investigation is was in fact the second international enquiry, and the third overall, to find no evidence of genocide in Darfur, after the enquiry set up by the government of Sudan and headed by the ex head of the judiciary Mr. Dafaalla Haj Yousif and the commission of Enquiry for Darfur set up by the United Nations in 2oo5.

The second group of losers are the people of Darfur and the victims of the conflict. Thanks to the decision of the court, hopes of bringing and end to the conflict any time soon have been dealt a severe blow. Rebels have already hardened their stance against what they see as a weakened government, whilst the government has been put in corner, and can see little advantage in yielding to the demands of the super powers. There is, of course, little prospect of the warrant being executed in the near future.

The third group of losers is of course are president Bashir, his government, and the nation as a whole as undoubtedly this decision will have negative effects on all of them.

The court also managed to alienate more people in Africa, having preserved its 100% record of prosecuting Africans exclusively,  and following the recent humiliation of delegations from the African Union and Arab League at the hands of the UN Security Council which ignored their pleas to have the proceedings delayed for 12 months .

What a remarkable achievement!

Sudanese Backing for Bashir Questioned : A rebuttal

A number of observers and activists have questioned the extent of opposition within Sudan to the ICC intervention in the country. Critics were quick to label SIDG as a government “proxy” and a “pro government” group. It seems inconceivable to some, that, any Sudanese citizen can agree with the government’s position on the dangers posed by the ICC to the stability and cohesion of the Sudan, and not be part of the government apparatus. Yet this reasoning betrays a totalitarian approach, that denies the existence of any alternative point of view except those espoused by the critics.

How can we expect a person who denies the existence of any view other than his, to be any better than the government he struggled against so hard and for so long in terms of granting basic rights, freedoms and civil liberties. Continue reading

Analyzing Darfur’s Conflict of Definitions: Interview with Prof. Mahmoud Mamdani

mamdani2pgProf. Mahmoud Mamdani is Herbert Lehman Professor of Government and Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University.

“How you define the problem shapes the solution,” says the world renowned Africa specialist in an interview with IslamOnline.net.

Continue reading

ICC will announce Bashir decision on 04 March 2009

The International Criminal Court announced today that Pre Trial Chamber 1 will make public their decision on a request to indict president Omer Al Bashir on Wednesday, 04 March 2009. This follows the chamber recently deciding -on a technicality-  not to allow SIDG and SWTUF to appeal against a decision to reject an Application under Rule 103 submitted by the two organisation on 11 January 2009.

Read the court announcement here

The ICC: Politics disguised as justice

Ibthal Ahmed posted the full transcripts of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee round table  discussion of Sudan which took place  on 12 Feb 2009 in Washington.

Chaired by Senator John Kerry, and including the former ambassador to Sudan, Timothy Carney and the president of Save Darfur Coalition, Jerry Fowller;  the panel discussed at length the implications of the ICC intervention in Sudan.

The discussion  demonstrated how the super powers and special interests groups are using the ICC to achieve political objectives.

ICC rejects SIDG & SWTUF Application for Leave to Appeal

The pre trial chamber of the ICC has refused to allow Sudan International Defence Group and Sudan Workers Trade Unions Federation to appeal against the chamber’s decision to reject their Application under Rule 103.

The two organisations submitted an application in January asking the court not to issue an arrest warrant for president Continue reading

ICC returns 1.8 million signatures against the indictment of Bashir

A petition of more than 1.8 millions signatures of Sudanese citizens who voiced their concern over the proposed indictment of president Omar Al Bashir will be returned by the ICC registry.

The registry cited a recent decision by the pre-trial chamber on application under Rule of 103 of the Rome Statute. Continue reading

CSM: Mediators and war victims blame ICC for preventing peace in Uganda

According to Christian Science Monitor, an ICC warrant for Mr. Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord Army has scuppered chances of reaching peace deal in Uganda. Continue reading

النص الكامل لقرار المحكمة الجنائية و أستئناف صدق و أتحاد العمال

تنشر صدق النص العربي الكامل (ترجمة غير رسمية)  لقرار قضاة الغرفة الابتدائية لمحكمة الجنايات الدولية برفض الطلب الذي تقدمت به المنظمة العالمية للدفاع عن السودان (صدق) و إتحاد عام نقابات عمال السودان بعدم إصدارأمر توقيف بحق الرئيس البشير و ثلالثة من قادة الحركات المسلحة بدارفور

و قد قدمت المنظمتان طلبا لإستئناف الحكم بتأريخ 11 فبراير 2009.  ه

النصوص العربية لقرار الفضاة و الاستئناف منشورة على الصفحة العربية على هذا الرابط.    ه

SIDG and SWTUF to appeal ICC decision

Lawyers acting for Sudan International Defence Group and Sudan Workers Trade Unions Federation have submitted a request to the pre trial chambers asking for leave to appeal the court decision to reject their initial application.

Sir Geoffrey Nice QC and Rodney Dixon QC submitted the application on 11 February 09.

The submission is contained in a 15 page  public document that can be found here

ICC rejects SIDG application

ICC judges in the Hauge have refused an application by Citizens Organisations of the Sudan asking the court to refuse to issue an arrest warrant for president Bashir and three commanders from the Darfur rebel groups.

To full decision is avaialable here.

Supplement to Application by Sudan Citizens Groups

A supplement to the application by Citizens’ Organisation of The Sudan to the ICC pre trial chamber was  filed on 3 Feb 2009.

You can read the submission here

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