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ICC denies reports that Bashir arrest warrant issued

[JURIST] Officials from the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] announced Thursday that the ICC has not issued an arrest warrant [press release] for Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], refuting Wednesday reports [NYT report] that the warrant had been issued. The Wednesday reports, allegedly based on statements by an anonymous UN diplomat, said that the ICC had reached a decision on the July 2008 request [JURIST report] by chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] to issue an arrest warrant against Bashir. The ICC stressed that any announcement of a decision to issue an arrest warrant would come in "the normal way of a press release and publication on the Court’s website."

On Tuesday, UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon made statements [press conference transcript, JURIST report] emphasizing the independent nature of the ICC as a judiciary organization, and stressing that Bashir should "fully cooperate with whatever decisions the ICC makes." Sudan and the African Union [JURIST reports] have both asked the UN Security Council to delay war crime charges against Bashir for one year by invoking Article 16 of the Rome Statute [text], citing fears that an arrest warrant would disrupt the Sudanese peace process.

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