SUDAN WATCH: ICC prosecutor tells audience at Yale University decision on Sudan president arrest warrant to be made ‘in a few days’?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

ICC prosecutor tells audience at Yale University decision on Sudan president arrest warrant to be made ‘in a few days’?

Today, the Sudan Tribune has this one line notice on its home page

Decision on Sudan president arrest warrant to be made ‘in a few days’, ICC prosecutor tells audience at Yale University
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The above one line notice at Sudan Tribune's home page has disappeared. Instead, at the top of their news section today is this article:
ICC prosecutor says ruling on Bashir case coming ‘in a few days’

Monday 9 February 2009 07:00.

February 8, 2009 (WASHINGTON) – Three judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) will rule “in a few days” on whether to issue an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir, the ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said on Friday in New Haven, Connecticut.

ICC prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo

The International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo

Sudan Tribune learnt last week that the judges have already come to a decision, still under seal, requiring that an arrest warrant be issued for Al-Bashir, who is charged on ten counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

During his address at Yale, the prosecutor reiterated his allegations against Sudan’s leader: “For the past 5 years massive crimes have been committed in Darfur. For the past 5 years no amount of negotiation has allowed the violence to abate. As of today, 5,000 people are dying each month in Darfur,” he said, referring to alleged mortality figures due to extreme violence and worsened livelihoods.

While the ICC prosecutor omitted to say how the judges will rule, he spoke at length on what will happen if the warrant is issued.

“Should the Judges rule in favor of the request, they will issue an arrest warrant and transmit it to the Government of the Sudan for enforcement. Are the Sudanese willing to arrest the President, now or in a few months?” posed Moreno-Ocampo.

“If not, how will the UN Security Council authority be affected? Do the States parties to the Rome Statute have a particular duty? What will be the reaction of the NGO and academic community? What can students do?”

In March 2005 the ICC was tasked by the UN Security Council, acting under Chapter VII with investigating crimes in Darfur.

Ocampo alleges that since April 2003 the Sudanese Armed Forces and Popular Defense Forces (PDF) systematically conducted joint military operations directed against civilians in towns and villages inhabited mainly by three ethnic groups, the Fur, Zaghawa and Masalit, directly killing 35,000 people while almost 300,000 of those who fled the attacks died of starvation and disease.

Two arrest warrants were already issued in April 2007 for a Sudanese junior minister and a militia leader. They were never enforced.

“Let me be frank: The crimes have continued in Darfur because the international community has diverse interests and was never able to unite to ensure compliance with UN Security Council resolutions. If the world is united, the atrocities and genocide will stop in a day,” said Ocampo.

“The decision of the Court, if confirming the existence of the crimes, should create a momentum to close ranks around one objective, stop the crimes. It will be a unique opportunity for the international community to come together, to establish a new framework to protect the Darfuris.”

Later he added, “This is not about regime change, it is about the criminal responsibility of individuals. It is about stopping the crimes. The Court is not asking for international forces to intervene. No war, no invasions, but also no inaction, no denial. Something between bombing and nothing.”

Sudan has threatened unforeseen consequences for aid workers, diplomats and peacekeepers if a warrant is served. Critics of the ICC move include the ruling party, state-sponsored Sudanese news outlets, the Democratic Unionist Party and the leader of the National Umma Party, while internationally the critics include major regional blocs like the Arab League and African Union, as well certain vocal proponents of deferring the ICC move who make thorough use of Western news outlets.
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Related reports

Sudan Watch Saturday, February 07, 2009:
Sudan Tribune's shameless political activism masquerading as hard news to whip up a storm when peoples lives are at stake ought to be challenged

Sudan Watch Sunday, February 08, 2009:
2009 could be a make or break year for the CPA and for the prospect of peace in Sudan says UN envoy Qa

Sudan Watch Monday, February 09, 2009:
ICC Prosecutor’s keynote address at Yale's conference: “The Pursuit of International Criminal Justice: The Case of Darfur”

Sudan Watch Monday, February 09, 2009:
UK's Special Representative for Sudan, Michael O'Neill, says Bashir's indictment could destroy Sudanese unity and derail peace process in Darfur

Congo Watch Sunday, February 08, 2009:
ICC trial of Lubanga off to an ‘inauspicious’ start
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From Sudan Vision Daily, Khartoum
Monday, February 09 @ 00:15:00 GMT by Staff Writer
Sudan Envoy to UN: UNSC has Nothing Good

Presidential Advisor, Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail stated that the government has no information about the timing of ICC resolution over President Al-Bashir. He added, after a tripartite meeting including Dr. Ismail, DUP Leader Mohammed Osman Al-Mirghani and Baath Party Leader Abdallah Al-Ahmar, that the government is prepared for the decision and all measures were taken to confront it, affirming that all what is said about the issuance of the decision is just guesswork.

On the support of the US Administration to the ICC decision, Dr. Mustafa pointed out that US banned the UNSC to issue a decision to suspend the arrest warrant in previous stages, but he hinted to the AU stance supporting Sudan.

Meanwhile, Sudan Envoy to UN, Abdul Mahmoud Abdul Halim revealed about moves by the mission round the clock with UNSC permanent members to discuss the Darfur issue and the ICC decision. He said that there is uncertainty in some members' stances.

Abdul Mahmoud said that the UNSC is useless and if the arrest warrant is issued or not it will not affect the government as it considers the decision as born dead and represents a political plot against Sudan from Western community.

For its part, OIC announced its support to the AU resolutions in the recent summit calling for deferring the arrest warrant.

OIC Secretary-General, Akmal Addeen Ihsan affirmed that AU resolution coincides with OIC stance endorsed in its emergency meeting last August.


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