Al-Bashir on spotlight as ICC prosecutor briefs Security Council

Nairobi- Kenya (PANA) -- Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir returned to the intern ational spotlight on Friday when the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecut o r, Louis Moreno O’Campo, briefed the UN Security Council on its efforts to appre h end the Sudanese leader.
The Security Council, which mandated the ICC to investigate crimes in Darfur, wa s expected to receive a briefing from O’Campo on its investigations on the war c r imes' charges against Al-Bashir.
New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Thursday members of the Security Council should press for the surrender and trial of al-Bashir and others wanted for serious crimes committed in Darfur.
ICC judges granted an arrest warrant for President al-Bashir on charges of crime s against humanity and war crimes.
The pre-trial chamber set up to examine the charges against the Sudanese leader issued an arrest warrant on him 4 March for his role in Sudan’s military offensi v e against civilians and rebels operating in the restive Darfur region.
Sudan is not a party to the ICC but analysts say it is under obligation to coope rate with the court under Security Council Resolution 1593, which referred the D a rfur issue to the ICC.
“President al-Bashir is accused of orchestrating crimes including widespread mur der and rape in Darfur,” said HRW’s Richard Dicker, the International Justice Pr o gramme Director.
“After asking the ICC to investigate the crimes in Darfur, Security Council memb ers owe it to the victims to press for surrender of those wanted by the court, i n cluding President Omar al-Bashir.
” The prosecutor’s June report found that Sudan has failed to cooperate with the c ourt, according to HRW.
The Sudanese government reacted to the warrant on al-Bashir by expelling 13 inte rnational aid agencies and closing three national aid agencies that provided rel i ef aid to more than one million people in the country The African Union (AU) has outrightly rejected the ICC option of arresting the S udanese leader and trying him for the killings in Darfur, saying it posed furthe r risk of worsening the fighting in Darfur and constituted a threat to Sudan’s so v ereignty.
African officials say the ICC is unfairly targeting Africans, noting that the co urt’s first cases under investigation are from Africa.
Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic have r eferred cases to the ICC for determination.
The Darfur case was brought before the court as a result of the UN Security Coun cil referral.
African ministers and leaders across the continent have also criticised the cour t for not investigating cases outside Africa.

05 june 2009 16:37:00

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