Mbeki to mediate in Darfur

Cape Town- South Africa (PANA) -- The African Union (AU) has appointed South Afri ca's former President Thabo Mbeki to chair a committee to investigate human righ t s violations in Darfur as well as mediate between the ICC and Sudan.
Mbeki's appointment followed the International Criminal Court's decision last we ek to issue a warrant of arrest against Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir for wa r crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
South Africa's Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said Mbeki, who brokered the deal for Zimbabwe's political rivals to share power following last year's di s puted elections, would have the role of mediating between ICC and Sudan.
Dlamini-Zuma said the ICC decision to issue the arrest warrant was regrettable a nd that South Africa had accepted AU's initial response to the ICC decision.
"South Africa has never countenanced any acts of impunity.
However, South Africa supported the decision of the AU to defer the issue by a year to give the peace processes in the Sudan a chance," Dlamini-Zuma was quoted as saying.
The arrest warrant is a major milestone in the fight against impunity in Darfur, the International Bar Association (IBA) said, adding that the decision should b e seen as targeting impunity, not Africa.
Mark Ellis, IBA’s executive director, said the decision of the ICC judges affirm ed that sitting heads of state were not above the law and must be held accountab l e.
"Sudanese victims will now know that justice is attainable, irrespective of the status of the alleged perpetrator," he said.

09 march 2009 16:49:00

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