ICC DROPS DARFUR CASE, SEEKS SURRENDER OF SIMONE GBAGBO

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Dec. 15 (GIN) – The list of war crimes being investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC) is growing smaller.

Earlier this month, the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya was dismissed after witnesses became unavailable to testify and the government rejected the court’s jurisdiction over the charges.

This week, Fatou Bensouda, International Criminal Court prosecutor, suspended investigations into alleged war crimes in Sudan's Darfur. She criticized the UN Security Council for inaction over the conflict-hit region.

Her comments came amid a Ugandan-led campaign for African countries to pull out of The Hague-based ICC, following the collapse of the case against President Kenyatta.

"I am left with no choice but to hibernate investigative activities in Darfur as I shift resources to other urgent cases," Bensouda told the Security Council last Friday.

The UN body failed to push for the arrest of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for alleged crimes committed in Darfur, she said.

Without action from the top UN body, the cases against Bashir and three other indicted suspects would remain deadlocked and there would be "little or nothing to report to you for the foreseeable future."

Claiming victory over the ICC, the Sudanese president responded: "They wanted us to kneel before the International Criminal Court but the ICC raised its hands and admitted that it had failed.”

"The Sudanese people have defeated the ICC and have refused to hand over any Sudanese to the colonialist courts."

With two cases dropped in the last month, the ICC has turned its attention to the wife of the former president of the Ivory Coast. Simone Gbagbo “allegedly bears individual criminal responsibility, as indirect co-perpetrator, for four counts of crimes against humanity: murder, rape, persecution and “other criminal acts” during post-election violence between Dec. 2010 and Apr. 2011.

The ICC warrant issued last year alleges that as a member of the president's inner circle, his wife was an "indirect co-perpetrator." She attended meetings where plans were discussed and carried out to persecute (Alassane) Ouattara supporters, according to the warrant.

Mrs. Gbagbo is currently in the Ivory Coast which refuses to surrender her to the international court, saying it can handle the case in-country. Her husband, former president Laurent Gbagbo, is in ICC custody awaiting trial over similar charges.w/pix of S. Gbagbo

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