Sudan official again calls for UN to delay Bashir ICC indictment

[JURIST] Sudan reissued a request to the UN Security Council Thursday to delay for one year war crimes charges against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile] for alleged genocide in Darfur. International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] has sought an arrest warrant [JURIST report] for al-Bashir on charges of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, and the ICC is expected to decide whether to issue the warrant as early as this month. With the backing of several African and Arab states, the Sudan Ambassador to the UN Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohammad urged [AFP report] the Security Council to heed the request [JURIST report] of the African Union (AU) [official website] and invoke the Article 16 of the Rome Statute [text], which allows the UN to pass a resolution that defers a prosecution in the ICC for 12 months. The AU is concerned an indictment would pose a threat to the process in the Sudan. Also on Thursday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's Special Representative for Sudan Ashraf Jehangir Qazi briefed the Security Council on Ban's latest report [text], which expressed concern that an arrest warrant for al-Bashir would create an unfavorable Sudanese reaction. Ban wrote:

While I am encouraged by the assurances of continued support by the Government, I am also concerned about remarks by some of its officials that the Government may redefine its relationship with UNMIS (the UN Mission in Sudan that is mainly concerned with helping to enforce the CPA) should an arrest warrant be issued against President al-Bashir,
A Security Council resolution staying the ICC's indictment would require a majority of nine votes and the concurring votes of all five permanent members.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [offical profile] applied for an arrest warrant for Bashir [JURIST report] in July. The warrant was condemned [JURIST report] by the Arab League [official website, in Arabic] and criticized [JURIST report] by South African President Thabo Mbeki [official profile]. In December, ICC judges gave Moreno-Ocampo until January 26 to provide supplemental information [JURIST report] about a September 2007 attack [BBC report] on an African Union [official website] base in Haskanita. The events at the ICC were preceded by a Security Council statement in June urging Sudan to work with the ICC [JURIST report] to "put an end to impunity for the crimes committed in Darfur." Sudan is not a party to the ICC, but must cooperate to fulfill its obligations under Council Resolution 1593 [text], which established jurisdiction over the Darfur situation. Hundreds of thousands of people have allegedly been killed in Darfur by Sudanese military and janjaweed [Slate backgrounder] militia forces.

 

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