From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Fri Feb 06 2009 - 06:47:19 EST
Sudan UN envoy slams Costa Rica over Darfur remarks
Feb 6, 2009 8:06pm GMT
By Louis Charbonneau
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Sudan's U.N. envoy on Thursday blasted
Costa Rica as a "banana republic" after its ambassador said there was no
justification for suspending any war crimes indictment of the Sudanese
president over Darfur.
"The issue here is bigger than the small minds ... of some ambassador who
talked with you just some minutes ago," Sudanese Ambassador Abdalmahmoud
Abdalhaleem told reporters after a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on
He said the Costa Rican envoy was trying "to inflame and inflict damage" on
the stalled Darfur peace process.
Speaking afterward to Reuters about Costa Rica, Abdalhaleem said, "It is a
His Costa Rican counterpart, Jorge Urbina, who is in his second year as an
elected member of the 15-nation council, told reporters he saw no
justification for Security Council intervention to suspend any indictment of
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for suspected war crimes in Darfur.
The chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Luis
Moreno Ocampo, asked the court's judges last year to issue an arrest warrant
for Bashir on suspicion of orchestrating a campaign of genocide in Darfur.
U.N. diplomats say the judges will most likely decide in favor of indicting
Bashir and expect the decision to be announced later this month. If Bashir
is indicted, Sudan has urged the council to use its power to suspend the
prosecution in the interest of getting a lasting peace deal for Darfur.
Urbina said the idea that peace and justice might be incompatible was
"absolutely false." He compared the discussion of Bashir and Darfur to the
war in the former Yugoslavia when some argued against indicting suspected
"At that time, very often politicians, diplomats and analysts were arguing
that justice was interfering in the path to peace," he said. "We learned
that it was different."
Abdalhaleem was clearly furious about the comparison.
"We need no lessons and lectures from ambassadors like the Costa Rican," he
said. "He has no ... justification whatsoever to appear before you and to
talk about Article 16 and the need to leave this crazy prosecutor do what
he's planning to do."
He was referring to Article 16 of the ICC statute, which gives the council
the right to suspend ICC prosecutions.
U.N. officials have repeatedly expressed concern there might be a spike in
violence in Darfur if the ICC indicts Bashir. Sudan has promised to continue
cooperating with U.N. peacekeepers but has warned the world body there might
be widespread public outrage across the country.
Abdalhaleem said permanent Security Council members Russia and China and
other non-permanent members support invoking Article 16. Diplomats say the
council is divided on the issue.
The Sudanese envoy also spoke disparagingly about any future indictment of
Bashir, saying it would be like giving "birth to a dead rat that is smelling
and no use at all."
U.N. officials say as many as 300,000 people have died and more than 2.5
million have been driven from their homes since mostly non-Arab rebels took
up arms against Khartoum in 2003, accusing it of neglecting the development
of the region. (Editing by Todd Eastham)
C Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved
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