Sudan invites foreign experts to check judiciary

The justice minister said on Thursday experts from the United Nations, African Union and Arab League had been invited.

Sudan invites foreign experts to check judiciary
Sudan has invited international experts to inspect its legal system to see whether it is capable of holding trials for allegedly war crimes committed in Darfur, the justice minister said on Thursday.

Sudan has launched a diplomatic campaign to counter the International Criminal Court's bid to get an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

Justice Minister Abdel Basit Sabderat told Reuters that Sudan would revive its own trials for those accused of war crimes in Darfur, although he gave no date.

He said experts from the United Nations, African Union and Arab League had been invited.

"We invited them to come and see the judicial system in Sudan themselves," he said, adding that Bashir had suggested this to Arab League head Amr Moussa during his visit this week.

The Arab League says Sudan has agreed to try those it thought responsible for crimes in Darfur under Arab and African observation. Both the African Union and Arab League want any indictment for Bashir to be put on hold.

Three special courts

Justice Minister Sabderat said Sudan would build on three special courts formed after the U.N. Security Council referred Darfur to the international court in 2005. But he gave no date for a resumption of trials.

"We are facing the same problems that (the ICC) itself said it faced... it is not that we are not willing to do justice but that while the war is going on we cannot execute justice," he said.

"We have to find the victims, witnesses, bring the evidence," he said. "It's not easy."

Sabderat said Sudanese law contained all the necessary provisions to try anyone for war crimes.

The ICC indicted State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs Ahmed Haroun and militia leader Ali Kushayb for war crimes last year, but Sudan has said they will not be handed over for trial.

Sabderat said no one had brought evidence against Haroun and that Kushayb had been arrested, but for different charges than those being brought by the ICC. He could not confirm if he was still detained.

"If you try Ahmed Haroun and Ali Kushayb do you think Darfur's problem will be resolved? Never!" he said, adding that trials in other conflicts had begun after peace deals had been signed.

Khartoum says foreign media have exaggerated the death toll in Darfur and puts the death toll there at 10,000.

Bashir has been visiting Darfur this week. On Wednesday, he was greeted by big crowds in South Darfur and called on all Darfur's rebel groups to join the peace process.

Reuters
Last Mod: 24 Temmuz 2008, 17:12
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