AU says Bashir warrant could impede Sudan's peace process
Source: China View 4 March 2009 - AU says Beshir warrant could impede Sudan's peace process -
ADDIS ABABA, March 4 (Xinhua) -- The arrest warrant, issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir, could impede the peace process in Sudan, said the African Union (AU) on Wednesday evening.
In a statement, AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping said "the search for justice should be pursued in a way that does not impede or jeopardize the promotion of peace."
Jean Ping said he was deeply concerned at "the far-reaching consequences of this decision, which comes at a critical juncture in the process to promote lasting peace, reconciliation and democratic governance in Sudan."
The AU Peace and Security Council is scheduled to meet on Thursday to review the situation, he said.
The AU chief said he was consulting with a number of stakeholders and AU partners "to mobilize support for the AU's position on this issue and to ensure that the hard-won but fragile gains made thus far in the quest for lasting peace and reconciliation in Sudan are not reversed."
Earlier on Wednesday, ICC issued the arrest warrant for the siting Sudanese president, but President al-Beshir denies the war crimes allegations and declines to deal with the court, the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal which was set up in 2002, and there is currently no international mechanism to arrest him.
The AU has been lobbying the UN Security Council to delay the arrest of al-Beshir. The Security Council, which, under the UN Charter, has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security in the world at large, has the power to suspend ICC investigation or prosecution of a case for up to one year at a time, according to the Article 16 of the Rome Statute that set up the world tribunal.
ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo accuses al-Beshir for his alleged role in what he called genocide in Darfur. The chief prosecutor requested the warrant for the Sudanese president last July. The Sudanese president dismissed such allegations as a Western conspiracy.
Sudanese Minister of State for Information and Communication Kamal Ebeid said that his government rejects the arrest warrant issued by ICC and will not deal with the court, the state television reported in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum on Wednesday."
The ICC's decision is regarded as a defiance against Sudan's sovereignty," Ebeid said, adding that "there is no firm evidence behind the ICC's arrest warrant." Editor: Mu Xuequan