From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Mon Mar 23 2009 - 12:46:09 EST
Qatar Under No Obligation to Arrest Al-Bashir- ICC
By Abdullah Mustapha
Brussels, Asharq Al-Awsat- The International Criminal Court [ICC]
Spokeswoman Laurence Blairon has stated to Asharq Al-Awsat the ICC cannot
force the state of Qatar to arrest Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir
and hand him over to the court to answer charges leveled at him on war
crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Sudanese Province of
She added: "Now that the court has issued its decision early this month, the
next step is for us to expect President Al-Bashir to voluntarily come to The
Hague, or to expect the Sudanese Government to hand him over to us."
She noted that if President Al-Bashir continues to refuse to appear before
the court or if the Sudanese Government refuses to hand him over, the judges
will refer the case to the UN Security Council for the necessary measures.
The ICC spokeswoman said there is no definitive timeframe during which
Al-Bashir must give himself up or during which Sudan or any other state must
hand him over. Also, no definitive timeframe can be determined for the
judges to take a decision to refer the case to the UN Security Council. Such
action may take place in a week, month, or a year, she added.
In reply to a question as to what will happen if Al-Bashir arrives in Qatar
to take part in the next Arab summit, the ICC spokeswoman said: "Qatar
represents a special case because it is not a signatory of the court's
statute. On that basis, the court cannot force Qatar to arrest Al-Bashir and
hand him over."
She added: "At the same time, however, Qatar is member of the United
Nations, and the international organization's resolution on the
establishment of the court obliges the member states to cooperate with the
court and respect its decisions."
She went on: "Accordingly, if the state of Qatar hands Al-Bashir over to the
court, it will have cooperated with the court, in implementation of a
She noted: "However, if Qatar does not arrest Al-Bashir and refuses to hand
him over to the court, should he arrive in Qatar to participate in the
summit, the court will inform the UN Security Council of the situation.
Afterward, the Security Council will take the appropriate measures vis-à-vis
Qatar or any other state that refuses to cooperate with the court if
Al-Bashir visits it."
When I asked the ICC spokeswoman what would happen if the Sudanese
Government handed the other two wanted persons, Ali Kushayb and Ahmad Harun,
to the court, and the arrest warrant against President Al-Bashir was
postponed or cancelled, she immediately interrupted my question and said:
"No, never. We will not accept such an offer." She added: "There will be no
alternative to the implementation of the ICC decisions, whether regarding
Al-Bashir or other wanted persons."
On Wednesday, 4March 2009, the ICC approved the request that the prosecution
presented on 14July 2008 to issue an arrest warrant against Sudanese
It is recalled that, on 20 November 2008, the ICC public prosecutor
submitted a request to the Pre-Trial Chamber I to issue an arrest warrant
against three rebel leaders in Darfur for war crimes that were committed
against the African Union peacekeepers in (Hasaknitah), Darfur, on 29
The UN Security Council referred the Darfur case to the ICC under its
Resolution 1593, which it passed on 31 March 2005. On 6 June 2005, the ICC
public prosecutor decided to open an investigation into this case.
The legal action that was taken against these three leaders is the third of
its kind in such a case.
In the past, Pre-Trial Chamber I issued two arrest warrants against Ahmad
Muhammad Harun, a former minister of state for internal affairs in the
Sudanese Government and current minister of state for humanitarian affairs,
and Ali Muhammad Abdul -Rahman, also known by the name of Ali Kushayb, who
is leader of the Janjawid militia. The arrest warrants were issued for their
alleged responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In its latest decision early this month, however, the ICC excluded charges
of genocide against Al-Bashir and reduced the list of charges against him
from 10 to only seven.
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