Arab League condemns ICC prosecutor for seeking arrest of Sudan president

Arab League condemns ICC prosecutor for seeking arrest of Sudan president

[JURIST] The Arab League [official website, in Arabic] issued a resolution on Saturday criticizing International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] for seeking the arrest of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile, JURIST news archive] for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The 22-country group, which held an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss the pending charges, rebuked the prosecutor 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. The resolution stated:

The council decides solidarity with the Republic of Sudan in confronting schemes that undermine its sovereignty, unity and stability and their non-acceptance of the unbalanced, not objective position of the prosecutor general of the Internal Criminal Court.

Arab League officials recommended that domestic trials be used in lieu of ICC prosecutions, vowing that “effective justice will be realized with the follow-up of the Arab League and the African Union.” AFP has more.

Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo applied for an arrest warrant [application, PDF; JURIST report] last Monday for President al-Bashir for atrocities committed in the Darfur region of Sudan. The application, which followed a three-year investigation involving more than 100 witnesses in 18 countries, began with the referral of the situation to the Office of the Chief Prosecutor in 2005 [JURIST report]. This past June, Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo stated before the UN Security Council [official website] in June that “evidence shows that the commission of such crimes on such a scale, over a period of five years, and throughout Darfur, has required the sustained mobilization of the entire Sudanese state apparatus.” The Security Council has repeatedly called on Sudan to comply with the ICC investigation [JURIST report], but Sudan has refused to do so, calling Moreno-Ocampo a "terrorist" [JURIST report] and suggesting that he should be removed from office.