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Sudan says it prevented ICC jurisdiction in crimes against women and children

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May 23, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government said that it aborted a move by the European states within the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (Crime Commission) to give the International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction over crimes against women and children.

In its 24th session concluded on Friday, the Crime Commission passed nine resolutions including one on the UN standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners (known as the "Mandela rules").

The commission brought together as many as 1,000 delegates from member states, non-governmental organizations and civil society, including several high-level speakers.

Several participants from poor nations in South America, Africa and Asia, stressed importance of the punitive measures included in the Mandela rules but voiced reservation over lack of necessary financial capabilities to build prisons.

The UN for its part vowed to provide financial assistance to enable those countries to apply the rules in the future.

Sudan’s permanent representative before UN agencies, Mohamed Zaroug, said his country already applies those rules.

He pointed that his country, in coordination with several non-member states of the ICC, managed to prevent attempts by the European countries to consider the crime against women and children a war crime and give the ICC jurisdiction over it.

Zaroug told the Turkish news agency Andolu Saturday that violence against women is usually committed under normal conditions and not necessarily linked to wars, noting that ICC non-member states could not be forced to become parties to the Rome statute.

According to western diplomats the European bloc withdrew their request in order to avoid a vote that could lead to its rejection by at the plenary session of the commission.

The Mandela rules include extensive revisions and additions to the UN’s Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners‚ which date back to 1955.

They contain an expanded section of basic principles‚ including the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel‚ inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The rules also provides clear and detailed instructions on issues such as cell and body searches‚ registration and record keeping‚ investigations into deaths and complaints of torture and other ill-treatment‚ the needs of specific groups‚ independent inspections of prisons‚ the right to legal representation and more.

Resolutions of the Crime Commission are expected to be adopted by the UN General Assembly during its 70th regular session in September.

(ST)

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