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ICC Appeals Court Orders Pre-Trial Chamber to Reevaluate Genocide Charges for Bashir

By Allyson Neville, GI-NET Senior Advocacy Associate

Early this morning, the International Criminal Court appeals chamber issued its decision on the standard of proof used by the pre-trial chamber in deciding not to issue an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Bashir on the charge of genocide.  The court ruled that the standard of proof was too high and the pre-trial chamber must reconsider the charges.

STAND/GI-NET supporter and ICC expert, Bec Hamilton, summarized the ruling in her most recent blog entry where she writes, “Put simply, the [pre-trial chamber] had applied the standard of proof required for a conviction at trial to the decision of whether or not to issue an arrest warrant. This was wrong as a matter of law.”  She also states, “To be clear about what this does not mean: It does not mean that the Bashir arrest warrant now includes the genocide charge – at least not yet…it is now back to the [pre-trial chamber] to decide – this time using the right legal standard – whether or not to include the genocide count.”

Predictably, the government of Sudan is less than thrilled with this decision.  As some of you may remember—in March of 2009 when the arrest warrant for various counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity came out—Sudan reacted by kicking 16 humanitarian organizations out of Darfur.  We’re watching the situation closely for any reactions by the government and we hope that the United States is engaging in robust diplomatic efforts to prevent any negative fallout from this important decision.

If you are interested in more general background on the ICC, check out this quick overview published by the Washington Post today.

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