Sudanese president promises justice and compensation
Source: Tue Apr 7, 2009 Reuters report by Ibrahim Hamdi - excerpts:
Sudan's Bashir vows to try Darfur war criminals
ZALINGEI, Sudan, April 7 (Reuters) - Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir -- who is himself wanted on charges of masterminding atrocities in Darfur -- addressed a crowd of thousands in Zalingei, one of the most politically charged towns in Darfur.
"We know about justice between us and we know how to solve our problems. We have a committee for tribal reconciliation," Bashir told the crowd.
"After the reconciliation we will investigate those who are criminals and those who committed crimes and those who were killed and those who were killers. This is all guaranteed. Compensation will be paid. Everyone will get their right. This is justice."
Zalingei is the birthplace of some of Darfur's best-known rebels, including Sudan Liberation Army founder Abdel Wahed Mohamed Ahmed al-Nur, and is a hotbed of anti-government sentiment.
But there was no obvious sign of opposition at the rally where Bashir arrived on the back of an open truck, as streams of white-robed Darfuris rode past him on horses and camels.
On the edges on the crowd, people climbed trees and stood on the raised scoop of an industrial digger to get a better view.
Bashir praised Arab and African efforts to bring peace to Darfur, including the recent visit of the African Union's own panel on Darfur, headed by former South African president Thabo Mbeki.
"We thank the AU and the former presidents headed by Mbeki who came here ... But we don't want those Khawajas (foreigners)," he told the crowd.
"Judgement, it's not here. It's not with Ocampo or others. Our judgement is before God," the president said. Luis Moreno-Ocampo is the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court who is leading its war crimes case against Bashir.
Sudan appointed its own special prosecutor to look into reports of war crimes in Darfur in August, but the move has so far not produced any new prosecutions.
(Additional reporting by Khaled Abdelaziz in Khartoum, Writing by Andrew Heavens; Editing by Giles Elgood)