ICC's Bensouda would support Syria Special Tribunal if ICC path is blocked

The International Criminal Court prosecutor has indicated that she as a human being and as a Moslem woman would support the setting up of a special tribunal for Syrian war crimes.

“I will support [a special Syria tribunal] because for me its justice, accountability, rule of law, specially justice for the victims, the victims of these crimes, this is absolutely important that it must be addressed,” ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told Al Arabiya News Channel’s New York Bureau Chief Talal al-Haj.

Currently, however “Syria is not a state party and we don’t have any referral from the U.N. Security Council and also there is no declaration from Syria accepting ICC jurisdiction. Therefore currently the ICC does not have jurisdiction in Syria,” she said.

Over the last few days, the UK and France - both powerful Security Council members - have pushed for Syria to be referred to the ICC.

A question of jurisdiction

The French-drafted resolution is in an apparent response to the Western-backed Syrian opposition's demands that those responsible for human rights violations, alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity be brought to justice.

However, uncertainty remains whether or not Russia or China will veto the resolution.

The ICC’s lack of jurisdiction in the war-torn country could also prevent action.

“Syria is not a state party and we don’t have any referral from the U.N. Security Council and also there is no declaration from Syria accepting ICC jurisdiction. Therefore currently the ICC does not have jurisdiction in Syria,” she said.

In response to a question on the ongoing crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region, Bensouda said that she was “very concerned” – and that the international community needed to do “much, much more.”

“We must all be aware as an international community that the crimes in Darfur have not stopped,” she said.

“There has been an escalation even recently of crimes taking place…we do have even reports of again attacks in camps and other forms of attacks by the Janjaweed [a Sudanese militant group] against civilians,” she added.

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Last Update: 06:43 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43
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