Sudan backs AU draft resolution on Darfur war crime trials

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- Sudan will support a draft resolution currently before African heads of state for the suspension of the arrest warrant against President Omar el-Bashir in favour of an African Union-led justice system.
Sudan's Foreign Minister Deng Alor said on Sunday the African Union was working on a new resolution on Darfur, which would see the setting up of a special panel to investigate and recommend prosecution of the Darfur war crime suspects.
"The AU has been very supportive of the Sudan.
We will be happy and comfortable with any decision the AU takes on the issue of justice for the Darfur victims," the Sudanese Foreign Minister told PANA in an interview.
The AU has relied on former South African President Thabo Mbeki to lead the special panel of the Darfur war crime suspects.
"The AU is yet to come up with a decision on this resolution.
The draft talks about a number of things and the trial of those found guilty of war crimes is one of them, I do not want to discuss confidential issues with the AU," he said.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is closer to making a decision on an arrest warrant sought against the Sudanese President.
The AU said an arrest warrant would be an impediment to the peace efforts and might jeopardise the fragile process.
Sudan also said an arrest warrant for the President would strengthen the position of the rebel groups that have been fighting to oust the Khartoum-based administration.
The country has also warned that it might not guarantee the security of foreigners living and working in the country if an arrest warrant is issued against its leader.
The AU has sought the advise of the Peace and Security Council, which authorised the setting up of an international panel of legal experts to look into the issue and recommend the prosecution of those found culpable.
"We will put up with any decision AU would reach on this issue.
We are waiting for it," the Sudanese foreign minister said on the sidelines of the African Union heads of state summit, which kicked off here Sunday.
The Sudanese minister said AU was seeking for a deferral of the arrest warrant against the Bashir until there is a peace process in Darfur and the situation is stable enough to allow for prosecution of those involved.
Meanwhile, Mbeki is due to arrive in Darfur to begin his work on justice.
The legal panel on Darfur, comprising experts, is expected to be named soon.
AU Commission President Jean Ping said the organisation will name prominent African lawyers with a good understanding of international law, to form part of the panel.
The members would be mostly Africans working in foreign universities.

01 february 2009 16:39:00

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