African leaders to review stand on El Bashir arrest warrant?

Kampala- Uganda (PANA) -- As pressure mounts on African leaders to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the arrest of the Sudanese President Omer El Bashir on genocide charges,the leaders are expected to review their stand on the issue at their summit in Kampala, Uganda, this weekend.
The leaders decided in 2009 in Sirte, Libya, not to cooperate with the ICC over the issue until the peace process in Darfur progresses.
But on Friday, African Union Commission President Jean Ping said African Foreign Ministers meeting here to prepare the AU Summit agenda were expected to adopt a declaration on whether Africa's 30 signatories of the Rome Statute, the internat i onal law creating the ICC, should cooperate on the arrest warrant against Presid e nt El Bashir, wanted for genocide and crimes against humanity charges.
The AU Summit, which officially opens here 25 July, will adopt the decisions end orsed by the Foreign Ministers, who constitute the executive committee.
''The ICC Prosecutor is acting as an independent person.
But I have the African leaders above me and I am bound by their decision,'' Ping said.
He said among the options being discussed is the possibility of allowing African Courts to deal with issues of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Africa.
Ping, who accused the ICC Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, of acting unilaterally on the issue of Darfur and the arrest warrant against President El Bashir, said the decision not to cooperate with the ICC was taken b y the African leaders and would stay until the leaders agreed to withdraw the decision.
The AU Commission boss slammed the prosecutor for his unilateral decisions, and said ''they (ICC) seem to be keen on attacking Africa.
'' The issue of the arrest warrant against President El Bashir had dominated talks at the meeting preceding the AU Summit, which comes several weeks after Uganda hosted an ICC review conference that has put African signatories of the R ome Statute in the spotlight.
Some Rome Statute signatories in Africa, including South Africa and Uganda, have forced the Summit to take another look at the issue.

23 july 2010 17:54:00




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