ICC: The politicization of international criminal justice

Sudan / ICC: The politicization of international criminal justice

Lecture of the President of the International Progress Organization

Khartoum / Vienna, 7 April 2009

In a lecture delivered at an international conference in Khartoum (Sudan), the President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, warned of the danger of the politicization of international criminal justice due to the special privilege given to the United Nations Security Council under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to refer situations to the Court in cases where it has no jurisdiction sui generis.

The conference was organized by the General Sudanese Students Union. Lectures were given by Professors from the United States, the United Kingdom, Egypt and Sudan. Representatives of the World Federation of Democratic Youth, the Arab Students Union, the Federation of Students from Non-aligned Countries, the All-India Students Federation, and delegates of national and regional students organizations from Africa and the Arab world joined their colleagues from Sudanese universities in a wide-ranging debate on the implications of the ICC decisions and Security Council resolutions for peace and security in Sudan and in the regional and global context.

The President of the I.P.O. warned that politicization “may lead to a systemic failure of the International Criminal Court before it has even been able to prove its worth and credibility vis-à-vis the international community. Selectively prosecuting cases from formerly colonized countries of sub-Saharan Africa while choosing not to use prosecutorial authority in cases that affect the interests of influential States Parties – and non-States Parties – to the Rome Statute is definitely not the way to convince the international public of the worthiness of the goals pursued by the International Criminal Court.”

Addressing the President of the Republic of Sudan, Field Marshal Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, at a public meeting on the sidelines of the conference, Professor Koechler recalled the debates at the Inter-religious Dialogue Conference “Peace for All,” held in Khartoum in the year 1994, and their meeting, several years later,  in the course of the President’s visit to Vienna (Austria) for peace negotiations with the President of Uganda. He expressed the hope that the spirit of dialogue and rational analysis will prevail over the emotions of the moment on all sides and that the concerned regional organizations – the League of Arab States, the African Union, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference – will co-ordinate their diplomatic efforts with the Republic of Sudan.

The former President of the Republic of Sudan, Field Marshal Abdul Rahman Sowar al-Dahab, Chairman of the Board of the Islamic Dawa Organization, attended Professor Koechler’s lecture in the Khartoum Friendship Hall. In a separate meeting at the headquarters of the organization, Field Marshall Sowar el-Dahab and the President of the I.P.O. discussed the situation in Darfur.

The International Progress Organization was the first international NGO that raised the issue of double standards in international criminal justice after the two Security Council resolutions on the collective deferral of investigations or prosecutions in connection with United Nations peacekeeping missions (2002, 2003), and the referral of the situation in Darfur (Sudan) in 2005.

Hans Köchler, “Global Justice or Global Revenge? The ICC and the Politicization of International Criminal Justice”

  • Double Standards in International Criminal Justice — The Case of Sudan: I.P.O. Statement of 2 April 2005
  • Global Justice or Global Revenge? International Criminal Justice at the Crossroads (2003)
  • Hans Köchler: Universal Justice and International Power Politics: Ideal vs. Real
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