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Arab League justice ministers condemn Bashir arrest warrant

[JURIST] Justice ministers of countries belonging to the League of Arab States [official website, in Arabic; BBC profile] said Monday that the International Criminal Court has 'no sound legal basis' to issue an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. At a day-long summit in Cairo, the ministers suggested that ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo's July application for a warrant to arrest al-Bashir [JURIST report] was politically motivated and denounced [Sudan Tribune coverage] what they described as "attempts to politicize the principles of international justice." They applauded recent steps Sudan has taken to prosecute war crimes perpetrators, such as appointing Sudanese prosecutors to investigate and try suspects and the creation of internationally monitored courts [JURIST reports]. BBC News has more; the International Herald Tribune has additional coverage.

Immediately after Moreno-Ocampo applied for an arrest warrant in July, the Arab League rebuked the prosecutor [JURIST report] for his “unbalanced stance” and said that an indictment – the first ever against a sitting head of state – would set a dangerous and destabilizing precedent. Last month, then-South African President Thabo Mbeki spoke out against any ICC arrest of Bashir [JURIST report], telling reporters that the move will jeopardize stability in the Darfur region [JURIST news archive]. Moreno-Campo traveled to New York last month to seek support for the arrest of Bashir despite the fact that Bashir has threatened to ignore [JURIST reports] any ICC-issued arrest warrant, saying he would not "deal with or respond to" the ICC.

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