Iran, International Criminal Court And Omar Al-Bashir

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has been established in 2002 according to the Rome Statute to look into cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.  The Statute of Rome does not accept the concept of immunity for the current or previous leaders.  The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has signed the Rome Statute in 1988, but it has not ratified it.  However, according to the article 18 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, the states that have signed but not ratified a treaty (in their relevant places such as a parliament), should refrain from doing anything contrary to the aims and proposes of the treaty in the period between the time of signing and ratifying the treaty, unless they clearly declare that they do not intend to ratify the treaty.  The Iranian government has not so far declared that it intends not to ratify the Rome Statute of the ICC and therefore, for the moment the Iranian government is committed to observe the contents of this document and instructions of the ICC.

The Iranian government in practice not only has not taken action to ratify the Rome Statute, but it has ignored orders of the ICC.  The reasons for this kind of response of the Iran is that the Iranian government is afraid that due to violations of international standards, and due to complaints filed by the states and people, the ICC may issue warrants for the arrest of Iranian leaders.  The Iranian government initially welcomed the establishment of the ICC thinking that it would be a place for following its claims about war crimes of Iraq and later a campaign against the major powers that the regime is Iran disliked their policies especially in the field of putting pressure on the regime in Iran.  But later, when it became clear that the ICC may look into the crimes of the Iranian leaders inside the country and even in the region and neighboring countries, it has backed up. Of course Iran has some other problems with the ICC that stem from its constitutional law and criminal laws based on notions that are in clear violation of human rights (almost all articles of the Universal Declarations of Human Rights are ignored in the Iranian constitutional and internal law especially on rights of women, minorities, followers of other religions and those who do not agree with the ruling regime).

ICC issued a warrant in 2009 for arrest of Omar Al-Bashir, the Sudanese president for crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur.  The judges of ICC have asked for cooperation of all states parties to the Rome Statute in arresting him.  The government of Iran, has ignored the orders of the ICC regarding Omar Al-Bashir and they have sent top Iranian officials (including the speaker of the Iranian Majles) to meet and express their support from Omar Al-Bashir.  The reason for this response is that Iranian regime out of isolation tries to find friends in persons such as Omar Al-Bashir.  At the same time, the crimes attributed to Omar Al-Bashir are related to the case of Darfur and in fact, it is a case of Muslims acting against other religions in that region and the regime in Tehran thinks that it is committed to support the Islamic cause in this way.  The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, immediately after announcement of the ICC decision for issuing an international warrant against Omar Al-Bashir, declared that it condemns the arrest warrant issued for the Sudanese president. Iran is among several states that have not accepted or recognized the decision of the ICC regarding Omar Al-Bashir, although the competency of ICC in this case is based on a UN Security Council Resolution.

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