AU Summit deadlocked over African trial for Bashir

Kampala- Uganda (PANA) -- African leaders Tuesday failed to agree on a possible A frican trial of President Omer El Bashir, after a debate on whether they should cooperate with the Interna tional Criminal Court (ICC) on its arrest warrant for the Sudanese leader, a source at the closed-door discu ssions on the arrest warrant told PANA.
''The final decision is that the status quo remains, which means Africa will not cooperate with the ICC on this matter, but they agreed that this decision is not a permission for impunity in Africa,'' said the source, who asked not to be identified.
The leaders warned their compatriots, who would be indicted in future for rights abuses, including war crimes and genocide, that they would face justice.
The source said the final decisions adopted at the AU Summit in Kampala would no t reflect the discussions by the leaders on the kind of action they had sought when they discussed the issue.
The discussions about whether Africa should help arrest the Sudanese leader divi ded the African leaders, who had advised the Arusha-based African Court of Justice to explore its ability to undertake a war crimes trial or crimes against humanity in Africa, the source said.
''They explored the process of instituting an African trial of President Bashir, but again, we have no mechanism to do that.
They had wanted to go the Hissane Habre way, but it has taken 10 years to try him (Habre) .
This line of discussion was discouraged because it does not deliver justice,'' the source said.
The leaders also discussed the request by the ICC to open a liaison office in Ad dis Ababa, to help in the coordination of its work with those of the African Union.
They however, deferred a decision on the issue to a future date.
Earlier, AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping said the African foreign ministers discussed the ICC office, but that their worries were more about the objective of having the office in Addis Ababa and not in Europe.
â?The ICC has no office outside of its headquarters.
The issue is why are they only interested in opening an office in Africa, why not in Europe or Asia,â? Ping told journalists.

27 july 2010 13:27:00




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