With an arrest warrant for Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir possibly days away, according to the New York Times, the UN Security Council faces a moment of truth: Will it allow the International Criminal Court (ICC) to move forward in the prosecution of the alleged “mastermind” of what ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo and the US government have both called a "genocide" in Darfur?
Or, will Council members postpone the Bashir case for another 12 months on grounds that Mr. Bashir could inflict terrible revenge on international aid workers, not to mention his own people?
The Security Council, under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, can decide it is “in the best interest” for the ICC to defer the prosecution of Bashir to preserve stability and peace, which might include a fragile pact in Sudan between north and south. “The council can come in at any time and defer,” says Mark Ellis of the International Bar Association in London, “but they would have to get all five members to agree, and I’m not sure they can.”
Whether or not judges at the ICC have fully signed off on an arrest warrant for Bashir is unclear. The New York Times published a story Thursday stating that a warrant had been issued. ICC officials insist they have not.