ICC says no arrest warrant for Sudan's Beshir, denies reports

Some unnamed United Nations diplomats told Reuters the global court's judges had decided to indict Sudan's president for war crimes in Darfur.

ICC says no arrest warrant for Sudan's Beshir, denies reports
The International Criminal Court (ICC) said Thursday it has not issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir for crimes in Darfur.

Some unnamed United Nations diplomats told Reuters late on Wednesday the global court's judges had decided to indict Sudan's president for war crimes in Darfur.
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A UN spokeswoman, Laurence Blairon, said that "When we have something to announce, we will announce it. For now, there is nothing to announce."

Sudan's foreign ministry said it had not received any notification from the Hague-based court which has not so far publicly announced a decision or given details of what charges President Omar Hassan al-Bashir might face.

"We must wait for the announcement from the court," said Ali al-Sadig, spokesman for Sudan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Reaction against ICC decision

"The African Union and Arab League delegations are still working. China and Russia are also working with us. It is too early to talk about the results of this pressure .... We will react when the decision comes."

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

Their diplomats have been trying to build support for a one-year postponement of the court's action, which is within the power of the United Nations' Security Council.

"Our consistent stance has been that we hope the International Criminal Court's actions are helpful for Sudan's stability and the appropriate resolution of the Darfur problem," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular news briefing.

Some U.N. officials said it had been widely expected and would be made public later this month.

'Genocide' charges

Last year, chief ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo asked the court's judges to indict President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for orchestrating what he described as a campaign of genocide in Sudan's western Darfur region that killed 35,000 people in 2003 and at least 100,000 more through starvation and disease.

Sudan rejects the term genocide and says 10,000 people died in the conflict.
An ICC spokeswoman declined to comment, saying the decision was in the hands of the judges. It was not immediately clear whether Bashir had been indicted on all 10 counts of genocide and other war crimes listed by the prosecutor or just some of them.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's office has not been notified by the ICC of its decision, although he expects to receive some form of notification before the end of the month, diplomats and U.N. officials said.

Sudan has ruled out handing over Bashir or two other Sudanese citizens previously indicted by the court for suspected war crimes in Darfur.

Cooperation with UNAMID

Khartoum has said it would continue cooperating with U.N. peacekeepers in Sudan even if Bashir is indicted, but has warned there may be widespread demonstrations of public outrage.

Sudan's U.N. ambassador, Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem, dismissed the decision of the court.

"It will mean nothing to us and doesn't deserve ink with which it is written," he told Reuters. "We will never be shaken by this criminal attempt to pollute our political life and sabotage our efforts for development and peace."

"We have a specific, separate mandate to keep the peace in Darfur. We have nothing to do with the ICC," UNAMID spokesman Noureddine Mezni said.

Some analysts have warned Western embassies will be left in a diplomatic vacuum if an arrest warrant is issued, unsure how to handle relations with a president who is also a wanted man.

The secretary-general met Bashir on the sidelines of an African Union summit in Addis Ababa last week.

Agencies
Last Mod: 12 Şubat 2009, 14:40
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