ICC Prosecutor: Attacks against peacekeepers may constitute war crimes
The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Fatou Bensouda condemns the killing of seven United Nations (UN) peacekeepers from Tanzania and the wounding of 17 military and police personnel of the African Union—United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) on 13 July in South Darfur. The UNAMID joint patrol came under heavy fire from a large unidentified group. Following an extended firefight the patrol was eventually extracted after UNAMID reinforcement arrived. As the United Nations has emphasised, the incident was one of the most serious attacks against the AU-UN peacekeepers since their deployment, and the third in just the past three weeks. The Prosecutor reminds all parties to the conflict that the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction in Darfur pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1593 and that the intentional directing of attacks against peacekeepers may constitute war crimes. The Office will not hesitate to investigate and prosecute those alleged to have committed such crimes should the national authorities fail to. The Prosecutor calls on the Government of Sudan to carry out a prompt and full investigation and to hold all those responsible to account. The latest incident brings the total number of UNAMID peacekeepers killed since 2007 to 54.
The Office of the Prosecutor is currently investigating and prosecuting crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Central African Republic, Darfur region of Sudan, Kenya, Libya, Ivory Coast and Mali. The Office is also conducting preliminary examinations analysing alleged crimes committed on the territories of Honduras, Korea, Afghanistan and Comoros; and assessing whether genuine national proceedings are being carried out in Guinea, Colombia, Nigeria and Georgia. In particular, the Office is currently prosecuting a case involving an attack against African Union peacekeepers in Haskanita, Darfur, in 2007, allegedly led by Abdallah Banda and Saleh Jerbo. The trial is set to start in May 2014.