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Egypt seeks delay of ICC charges against Sudan president

[JURIST] Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit [official profile] said [SIS press release] in a Monday interview with Egyptian television that the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] should wait for Darfur peace efforts to play out before proceeding with a formal indictment of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] for alleged war crimes [BBC backgrounder]. ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo filed ten charges against al-Bashir in July for atrocities committed in the country's Darfur region and controversially sought an arrest warrant against him. Aboul Gheit cited Article 16 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court [text], which requires the ICC to defer war crimes investigations for one year at the request of the UN Security Council [official website]. Aboul Gheit's comments follow Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's [BBC profile] visit to Sudan [SIS press release], in which he met with al-Bashir. AP has more. AFP has additional coverage.

On Wednesday, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Edmond Mulet said issuing an arrest warrant for al-Bashir could “derail” the peace process [JURIST report]. Last month, ICC judges gave Moreno-Ocampo one month [JURIST report] to submit "additional supporting materials in relation to some confidential aspects" of his application. Human Rights Watch has accused the Sudanese government [JURIST report] of using a domestic special prosecutor for Darfur crimes as "window dressing" to thwart the ICC investigation.

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