ICC's new blog "In Situ" - On Darfur, Libya vows opposition to UK Draft
Source: Tuesday, February 10, 2009 report from Inner City by Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN:
On Darfur, Libya Vows Opposition to UK Draft As ICC Is Celebrated with Warm Beer, Backwash of Good Intentions- - -
The United Kingdom circulated a draft Darfur statement Tuesday afternoon in the Security Council. Libya immediately denounced it, for failing to include a suggested paragraph noting the African Union's call on the Council to suspend the International Criminal Court's proceedings against Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir. A Libya delegate told Inner City Press that Uganda and Burkina Faso are solidly behind the paragraph, but that Russia and China had been surprisingly quiet in the consultations.
Hours later, just across First Avenue from the UN, a celebration of the ICC features a jazz trio, cold Heineken beer and Philippe Kirsch, the retiring ICC president. Kirsch had without explanation cancelled his scheduled media availability on Tuesday afternoon. A human rights watcher in the half-light explained that as a judge, Kirsch felt it better not to speak. But why then was it scheduled? The watcher, told that the controversy around the impending indictment of Bashir was already gumming up the Council's day to day work of issuing statements of outrage many days after military actions, blamed it on the Libyans.
But they are only asking for recognition of the position of the African Union, which they now head up. The watcher said, not all AU countries feel the same. But while not all European Union countries totally agree with that Union's position, once it is adopted, the members follow it. But when Africans follow suit, they are called irresponsible.
Photo: ICC's Kirsch, blog description of Moreno-Ocampo's controversies not shown
Distributed at the Coalition for the ICC's event -- an annual celebration, the watcher pointed out -- was a flyer for a new pseudo-grassroots blog, "In Situ," described as an "endeavor to help bridge the gap between populations affected by the crimes under the Court's investigation and the ICC's daily activities at its headquarters in The Hague... opening blog discussion on the Court's first trial in the case of The Prosecutor vs. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo."
But will the blog describe how the attempt to screen the Lubanga trial in the DR Congo results in rioting, and push back from Lubanga's group? Will the activities in the Hague include the controversies surrounding Luis Moreno Ocampo, the prosecutor? In the half-light, with soft jazz, there was only the backwash of good intentions.
From Inner City Press by Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN February 10, 2009:
Darfur Statement Blocked in UN Council By Bashir Indictment Language
The politics of war crimes charges against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir are now blocking passage of a statement about Darfur in the UN Security Council, sources tell Inner City Press. The United Kingdom drafted a so-called Presidential Statement about the stand-off around the South Darfur town of Mahajiriya. But the Council's three African members, supported by Russia and China, proposed including a paragraph taking note of the African Union's position that the International Criminal Court's proceedings against Bashir should be suspended.
France, the Council sources say, called this paragraph controversial. The UK made a direct bilateral outreach to China, asking they back down on the paragraph. The Chinese mission to the UN reportedly said that their instructions from Beijing were to follow, and insist on a Council reference to, the African Union. The UK draft PRST, the sources say, is dead.
UN's Ban and Sudan's al-Bashir: can these meetings continue?
Ban Ki-moon was asked on Tuesday if he would meet with Bashir if he is indicted. While this question must already be answered, Ban said he would wait and get advice from his top lawyer Patricia O'Brien. An African diplomat told Inner City Press, "Ban couldn't stop meeting with Bashir, he has two peacekeeping missions there." For now...
The International Criminal Court's president Philippe Kirsch had been slated to take questions from the Press on Tuesday at 4:25, but midday Tuesday the stakeout chance was cancelled. ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is said to be in New York -- but where? And why? Some say it is not only about Bashir, but also to fight against a proposal, at the ICC members' February 12 meeting, to establish an office to oversee his and the Court's work, based on this document. Watch this site.