ICC’s new prosecutor says court cannot act on Syria without U.N. referral

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In her first TV interview, Fatou Bensouda of Gambia, the first African to be named chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, said that while she was deeply concerned about the situation in Syria the court cannot act without a referral from the United Nations Security Council.

“We are deeply concerned about what is going on in Syria,” Bensouda told reporters in New York.

“Just like any other justice loving person and any person who is concerned that these crimes cannot go on to be committed against civilians, I will talk from that angle, because right now we simply don’t have jurisdiction,” Bensouda said.

The new ICC chief prosecutor pointed out that the Rome statute prevents the ICC’s intervention unless there were to be a United Nations Security Council referral.

“You know Syria is not a state party to the Rome Statute. We don’t have any referral by the United Nations Security Council to take Syria and Syria is unlikely to make a declaration accepting the ICC’s jurisdiction. So yes we cannot do anything. But like anybody who is concerned about the crimes, about what is taking place, I am in that place. I am worries,” she said.

Bensouda told reporters that there are no immunities under the ICC, not even presidential. “We don’t have that, under the ICC statute, there is none.”