[dehai-news] (Reuters): US, France, UK oppose suspending Bashir Darfur case

New Message Reply About this list Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Fri Feb 13 2009 - 17:01:17 EST

US, France, UK oppose suspending Bashir Darfur case

Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:35am GMT

(Adds outcome of Security Council meet with Arabs, Africans)

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 12 (Reuters) - U.S., British and French diplomats told
African Union and Arab League delegates on Thursday that they oppose
suspending a war crimes indictment of Sudan's president over atrocities in
Darfur, diplomats said.

U.N. diplomats and officials said on Wednesday the International Criminal
Court had decided to issue an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan
al-Bashir, who is accused by the court's chief prosecutor of overseeing
genocide in Darfur.

The court, based in The Hague, said on Thursday it had not reached a final
decision but U.N. officials said the Sudanese government was already aware
that Bashir would be formally indicted later this month.

"At this moment we're not ready to support an initiative that would
implement Article 16," French Deputy Ambassador Jean-Pierre Lacroix said,
referring to an ICC statute that allows the Security Council to suspend the
court's proceedings for up to a year at a time.

Lacroix spoke after a closed-door meeting between U.N. Security Council
members and African and Arab delegations.

Council diplomats said the U.S., British, Austrian and Croatian envoys also
told the meeting that they opposed deferral of an ICC indictment of Bashir.
Russia and China joined the Africans and Arabs in voicing support for a
deferral, saying it was in the interests of peace.

Lacroix said the supporters of a suspension appeared to lack a majority in
the council. Since Britain, France and the United States are permanent
council members with veto powers, they could block any moves to invoke
Article 16.

As expected the informal council meeting took no action but diplomats said
they would be returning to the issue.

Britain's Africa minister Mark Malloch Brown said earlier this week that it
was "completely unlikely that anything is going to happen which could lead
to an Article 16 deferral."


Bashir is the most senior figure pursued by the court since it was set up in
2002. If the warrant is issued as expected, he will be the first acting head
of state indicted.

Sudan rejects the accusations made by chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo
last July and says it will never hand over Bashir or two other Sudanese men
already indicted by the court.

"For us this so-called indictment doesn't exist," said Sudan's U.N.
Ambassador Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem. "No one will give it a damn in the
country. If it has any merit, it has united the whole Sudanese people around
our president."

China, the African Union and Arab League have all suggested that an
indictment of Bashir could destabilize the region, worsen the Darfur
conflict and threaten a troubled peace deal between north Sudan and the
semi-autonomous south.

Ocampo accuses Bashir of orchestrating a campaign of genocide in Sudan's
western Darfur region, starting in 2003. Ocampo has said this killed 35,000
people outright and at least 100,000 more through starvation and disease.

Khartoum rejects the term genocide and says 10,000 people died in the
conflict. (Additional reporting by Aaron Robert Gray-Block and Catherine
Hornby in Amsterdam, Andrew Heavens in Khartoum, Skye Wheeler in Juba, South
Sudan) (Editing by Eric Beech)

C Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved


         ----[This List to be used for Eritrea Related News Only]----

New Message Reply About this list Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

© Copyright DEHAI-Eritrea OnLine, 1993-2009
All rights reserved