SUDAN WATCH: Darfur rebels vow full ICC cooperation ahead of ruling on Bashir case

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Darfur rebels vow full ICC cooperation ahead of ruling on Bashir case

From Sudan Tribune Monday 2 March 2009 05:00:
Darfur rebels vow full ICC cooperation ahead of ruling on Bashir case
March 1, 2009 (PARIS) — The leaders of the major Darfur rebel groups pledged full cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC) days before judges make a ruling on a war crimes case against president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.

Four Darfur rebel leaders

Photo: From left to right: Secretary of external affairs at the Darfur United Resistance Front (URF) Tag Al-Din Bashir; Leader of Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) legacy faction Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur; Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) humanitarian coordinator Suleiman Jamous; Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) leader Khalil Ibrahim

On Wednesday the ICC judges will release their decision on a request by prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo submitted last July for an arrest warrant against Bashir accusing him masterminding a campaign to get rid of the African tribes in Darfur; Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa.

At the time Darfur rebel groups hailed the ICC move against the Sudanese president saying it is a victory for the Darfuri people.

Last November the ICC prosecutor submitted a second case against three unidentified rebel commanders accused of attacking a military base in last October 2007 that left 10 African Union (AU) soldiers dead and one missing.

“We are not calling for justice for the others and denying it for ourselves. Justice is justice and peace is peace and a crime is a crime. We will not hide and we mean it” the secretary of external affairs at the Darfur United Resistance Front (URF) Tag Al-Din Bashir said on a video broadcasted online.

“We don’t say to Bashir you go. No, we should also go when we have been called. We are going to cooperate very closely with the ICC and we are going to work hand in hand with the ICC to reveal all the truth and to implement international justice in a manner that is going to be a good example for us in Darfur, in Sudan, in Africa” he added.

Asked whether they will hand over any of their commanders if they indicted the URF official responded “it is not of the URF will hand them over, they will voluntarily go”.

The ICC prosecutor in his application left the door open for an issuing a summons to appear rather than an arrest warrant if the rebel commanders cooperate.

“Subject to the Pre-Trial Chamber’s determination, the Prosecution submits that a summons to appear could be an alternative pursued by the Court if the Court receives information as to the possible voluntary appearance of the individuals” the application reads.

Ocampo also told AFP that “while the judges decide on the warrants, they [suspects] now have the chance to appear on their own accord. They know who they are”.

Suleiman Jamous, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) humanitarian coordinator also appearing on the video said that international justice “will be carried out towards Al-Bashir so I think it is not easy then to say that if it came to our side we will not cooperate with the ICC”.

“So if any our people are indicted he will willingly to go and to tell the international community that we are innocent and then he will come back” he said.

Jamous also promised to help the ICC capture the suspects if within their ranks or in other groups if within their capacity.

He also denied that the decision of his movement to remove one of its commanders Salih Jarbo linked to reports that he is one of the three suspects.

The head of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) legacy faction Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur said that he will turn himself in along with any of his rebel group to the ICC if needed “without any preconditions”.

The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) chief Khalil Ibrahim who recently signed a goodwill accord with Khartoum echoed Al-Nur’s call saying that they “don’t fear at all” the Hague-based court.

“We are admiring the ICC, we are fully supporting the ICC. We are ready to go to ICC including myself and we are ready to work as tool ICC to capture anybody” Ibrahim said.

The JEM leader has made statements this month saying that if a warrant is issued for Bashir then it is “an end of his legitimacy to be president of Sudan”.

“We will work hard to bring him down ... If he doesn’t cooperate with the ICC, the war will intensify”.

Sudan refused to recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC saying it has not ratified the treaty establishing the court. Currently there are two ICC arrest warrants pending for Ahmed Haroun, state minister for humanitarian affairs, and militia commander Ali Mohamed Ali Abdel-Rahman, also know as Ali Kushayb.

The UN Security Council (UNSC) issued resolution 1593 under chapter VII in March 2005 referring the situation in Darfur to the ICC. (ST)

Video can be seen here below or here

Responding to sealed indictments issued by the International Criminal Court for three rebel field commanders in Darfur wanted in connection with the attack on AU peacekeepers at Haskanita in 2007 in which 12 peacekeepers died, the leadership of the four main rebel groups in Darfur pledge full cooperation with the ICC. Those interviewed here include Khalil Ibrahim (JEM), Abdelwahid Mohammed Nur (SLM/A), Suleiman Jamous (SLM Unity) and Tadjedin Bashir Niam (URF)

Darfur rebels promise to cooperate with ICC from Darfur Tribune on Vimeo

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JEM's Dr Tahar Adam al Fik

JEM's Dr Tahar Adam al Fik

Photo: Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) leader Dr Tahar Adam al Fiki, seen, during the Darfur Peace Talks, in Doha, Qatar, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009. (AP Photos/Maneesh Bakshi)

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