UK lawyers want AU to appeal against El-Bashir's ICC indictment

Kampala- Uganda (PANA) -- United Kingdom lawyers and a network of Sudanese NGOs h ave petitioned the African Union (AU), asking the continent's leadership who are meeting in Kampala, Uganda, to appeal to the International Court of Justice (ICJ ) to revoke the warrants of arrest against one of their own, Sudanese President O m ar El-Bashir.
The lawyers say the warrants are illegal.
The lawyers -- Sir Geoffrey Nice (QC) and Rodney Dixon, both of Temple garden ch ambers of London -- contend that "the issue of immunity for a sitting President h as never been resolved, and can only be dealt with by the ICJ.
"The indictment against El-Bashir raises general importance issues which have wi de consequences.
"Is it lawful for someone to refer a case when they are not members of the ICC? That problem is not yet addressed anywhere.
" "The second problem is whether a serving president of a state is vulnerable to a rrest when he attends such events as this, because it is his obligation," said S i r Geoffrey in one of the numerous news conferences on the sidelines of the AU su m mit at the Speke Resort Munyonyo late Saturday.
The lawyers further asserted: "Bashir's case was referred to the ICC by a non-st ate party, yet a case against a sitting President can only be referred by a stat e party.
" The NGOs are led by Mohammed Ansari, President of Africa crisis relief, who clai ms to head an association of 42 NGOs aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the crisis in Sudan.
Ansari said he had been lobbying member states, NGOs and did the same at the rec ent ICC meeting "We are not against international law, but against the biases of the ICC closing its eyes on atrocities in Gaza, Afghanistan and Iraq, but indicting only Africa n leaders," Asari told reporters.
"If African leaders stand together and say No, they would have done a great job since the ICC is focusing only on Africa," he noted.
He accused ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo of going around asking Presidents t o arrest a fellow President, and wondered if he could do the same thing in Europ e .
"Can he do it in Europe on a sitting President?â? he asked, saying that "Ocampo 's term is coming to an end and we shall strive to have an African there.
"

25 july 2010 11:13:00




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