From: Biniam Haile \(SWE\) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sun Apr 12 2009 - 15:55:26 EDT
Mbeki’s Darfur panel to visit Sudan neighboring countries
Sunday 12 April 2009 06:10.
April 11, 2009 (KHARTOUM) – The African Union (AU) panel headed by
former South African leader Thabo Mbeki is scheduled to visit a number
of Sudan’s neighbors to listen to their views on bringing peace to
The pro-government Sudanese Media Center (SMC) quoting a senior unnamed
official said the panel will visit Chad, Libya, Eritrea, Egypt and Saudi
Arabia for consultation and discussions.
The official added that the commission will seek to meet Darfur rebels
and would later make a second visit to Sudan.
The AU panel formed last February has been tasked with looking into ways
to balance accountability with bringing peace into Darfur and will
submit a report to the summit next July.
They paid a visit to Sudan and met with Sudanese president Omer Hassan
Al-Bashir as part of its fact-finding mission though the specifics of
its work remain unclear.
The idea of the panel surfaced when the International Criminal Court
(ICC) announced last year that it is reviewing criminal charges against
Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.
The AU strongly criticized the ICC move accusing The Hague based court
of being biased towards Africans and said that the arrest warrant
approved in March, threatens peace prospects in Darfur.
The eight-member panel is comprised of three former African heads of
state including South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki, Burundi’s Pierre Buyoya and
Nigeria’s General Abu Salam Abu-Bakr.
Other members of the panel include Director of African Rights Rakiya
Abdullahi Omar from Somalia, former minister Tiéblé Dramé from Mali,
Special Envoy of former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the Trial of
suspects of war crimes and human rights violations in Darfur Al-Hajji
Mohammed from Nigeria, Judge Florence Mumba from Zambia, and former
Foreign Minister of Egypt Ahmed Maher.
Some observers have expressed skepticism about the role of the panel
saying its goal is to save Bashir from ICC prosecution.
The Sudanese head of state have praised the work of the panel last week.
“We thank the AU and the former presidents headed by Mbeki who came here
... But we don’t want those Khawajas [Westerners]” Bashir told a crowd
Sudan has refused to recognize jurisdiction of the ICC which was
empowered to investigate the Darfur through a UN Security Council (UNSC)
resolution in March 2005.
A Darfur special prosecutor was appointed last year by Khartoum to probe
right abuses committed in Darfur since 2003 but so far nothing has
emerged on its findings.
A proposal for a hybrid court consisting of Sudanese, African and Arab
judges was also rejected by Khartoum.
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