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Atrocities in Darfur had been widely reported in the media for several years, but it was only on September 18, 2004, that the Security Council adopted Resolution 1564, requesting, inter alia, that the United Nations secretary-general rapidly establish an international commission of inquiry in order immediately to investigate reports of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law in Darfur by

"all parties, to determine also whether or not acts of genocide have occurred, and to identify the perpetrators of such violations with a view to ensuring that those responsible are held accountable."

On October 8, 2004, the secretary-general reported to the Security Council that he had established a five-member commission of inquiry and reqtiested that it submit its report within three months. The commission submitted a full report of its findings on January 25, 2005. On March 31, 2005, at the conclusion of long and reportedly difficult negotiations, the Security Council issued Resolution 1593. After specifying that the Council was acting under Chapter VII, the resolution stated in its key operative paragraph that the Council "[d]ecides to refer the situation in Darfur since 1 July 2002 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court." This resolution was an important event for the United Nations and, no less, for the as yet untested International Criminal Court (ICC).

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