/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague said on Thursday it would decide on Feb. 3 on whether Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir should be charged with genocide, Reuters reports.
The ICC issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir in March 2009 for war crimes in Darfur, but held back on issuing an arrest warrant on charges of genocide.
The International Criminal Court is a permanenttribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression (although it cannot currently exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression). The court came into being on 1 July 2002 — the date its founding treaty, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, entered into force — and it can only prosecute crimes committed on or after that date. The official seat of the court is in The Hague, Netherlands, but its proceedings may take place anywhere.
As of October 2009, 110 states are members of the Court, and a further 38 countries have signed but not ratified the Rome Statute. However, a number of states, including China, India, Russia and the United States, are critical of the court and have not joined.
The ICC can generally exercise only in cases where the accused is a national of a state party, the alleged crime took place on the territory of a state party, or a situation is referred to the court by the United Nations Security Council. The court is designed to complement existing national judicial systems: it can exercise its jurisdiction only when national courts are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute such crimes. Primary responsibility to investigate and punish crimes is therefore left to individual states.
To date, the court has opened investigations into four situations: Northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and Darfur. The court has indicted fourteen people; seven of whom remain fugitives, two have died (or are believed to have died), four are in custody, and one is appearing voluntarily before the court.
The ICC's first trial, of Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga, began on 26 January 2009. On 24 November 2009 the second trial started, against Congolese militia leaders Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui.