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ICC president urges international community to arrest war crimes suspects

President of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website], Judge Sang-Hyun Song [official profile], called Thursday on the international community to redouble its efforts to arrest [press release] eight suspects sought for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide. Of the eight individuals with outstanding arrest warrants are four commanders of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) [BBC backgrounder] who have evaded arrest for over five years. The LRA is accused of killing, raping and mutilating more than 1,200 men, women and children, abducting at least 1,400 civilians and displacing almost 300,000 others. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [case materials; JURIST news archive] also continues to evade arrest. Al-Bashir is charged with various counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Song said that the failure to arrest these individuals has a devastating effect on victims and emphasized that a lack of cooperation will allow impunity to flourish.

Earlier this week, the ICC requested that Kenya arrest al-Bashir [JURIST report] when he visits the country for an Intergovernmental Authority for Development summit. In August, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan [official profile; JURIST news archive] urged Kenya to reaffirm its commitment [JURIST report] to the ICC after it welcomed al-Bashir to a celebration for the country's adoption of a new constitution [JURIST report]. Days earlier the ICC reported Kenya [decision, PDF; JURIST report] to the UN Security Council and the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute over al-Bashir's visit. The ICC also reported Chad [decision, PDF], another member state, for welcoming al-Bashir in July. During al-Bashir's visit to Chad, ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] pledged that al-Bashir would eventually face trial before the ICC [JURIST report].

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