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Sudan downplays ICC arrest warrant issued for defence minister

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March 1, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government on Thursday sought to play down the significance of the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) judges for defence minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein.

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Sudan’s Defence Minister Abdul-Rahim Mohamed Hussein

Last December, ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked the judges to order the arrest of Hussein saying that he is among those who "bear greatest criminal responsibility" for atrocities in the Sudan’s western region of Darfur from August 2003 to March 2004.

The Pre-Trial Chamber I sad in its decision today that there were sufficient grounds to hold Hussein responsible for 20 counts of crimes against humanity, including persecution and rape, and 21 counts of war crimes, including murder and attacks on civilians.

"The Chamber considers that in his role as Minister of the Interior and Special Representative of the President in Darfur and as an influential member of the Government of the Republic of the Sudan, Mr. Hussein made essential contributions to the formulation and implementation of the common plan, inter alia, through his overall coordination of national, state and local security entities and through the recruitment, arming and funding of the police forces and the Militia/Janjaweed in Darfur" the judges said.

"These crimes were allegedly committed against the primarily Fur populations of the towns of Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar, Arawala and surrounding areas by the Sudanese armed forces and the Militia/Janjaweed in the context of a counter-insurgency campaign against the Sudanese Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A), the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and other groups opposing the Government. The plan of the counter-insurgency campaign was allegedly formulated at the highest levels of the Government of the Republic of the Sudan and had allegedly as a core component an unlawful attack on that part of the civilian population perceived by the Government as being close to the rebel groups".

"Furthermore the Chamber considers that his arrest appears to be necessary to ensure his appearance at trial and to ensure that he will not obstruct or endanger the investigations".

The government in Khartoum was quick to dismiss the ruling reiterating that Sudan is not a signatory to Rome Statute which is the ICC’s founding treaty.

"We are not concerned with the court and the decisions that come out of it. We, like the United States and Russia, are not signatories to the Rome Statute governing the court," foreign ministry spokesman Al-Obeid Marwih said.

The Sudanese diplomat suggested that the timing was meant to coincide with the "recent victories" of Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) against the rebels in Blue Nile, South Kordofan and Darfur.

"The court’s decision is more of a message to the rebellion than it is to frustrate the armed forces," Marwih added.

Qutbi al-Mahdi, a prominent figure within the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), echoed Marwih’s assertions adding that Ocampo wants to cover up for his failure to get previous warrants issued in connection with the Darfur conflict executed.

"This is a trick that no longer deceives the local and global and public opinion because it is [based on] lies, Al-Mahdi said.

Hussein joins his boss president Omer Hassan al-Bashir, South Kordofan Governor Ahmed Haroun and militia leader Ali Kushayb who are also wanted by the ICC for their presumed role in Darfur war crimes.

Prosecutors also have indicted two rebels for allegedly leading an attack on an African Union peacekeeper compound in Darfur in 2007. Judges dismissed similar charges against another rebel for lack of evidence. All three of the rebels surrendered voluntarily to the Hague-based court.

Human Right Watch (HRW) welcomed the warrant saying it confirms its findings on those believed to be involved in Darfur atrocities.

"Our research shows that Sudanese Defense Minister Hussein appears to have played a key role in Khartoum’s strategy of ’ethnic cleansing’ in Darfur," said Balkees Jarrah, international justice counsel at Human Rights Watch.

"The ICC judges’ decision today extends accountability to him for grave abuses, including crimes against humanity" Jarrah added.

Darfur was plunged into turmoil in 2003, when ethnic African rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated Sudanese government, whom they accused of discrimination.

The Khartoum government is accused of retaliating by unleashing Arab militias on civilians – a charge the government denies. The U.N. estimates 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million have been displaced in the conflict.

The 60-years old Hussein was an interior minister between 2001-2005 and presidential special representative for Darfur in 2003-2004.

It remains to be seen the extent to which the warrant would curtail Hussein’s travels abroad in a manner similar to the other suspects.

Over the last few years the Sudanese defense minister paid visits to Chad, China, Ethiopia. Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Belarus, Jordan, Algeria, Egypt and Qatar. Only Chad and Jordan have a legal obligation to apprehend him after today’s decision.

But several African ICC member states have allowed Bashir to visit without apprehending him.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 2 March 2012 08:01, by Robot

    ’Anything can happen to a mouse that can run faster than a pet’, what gives this idiots the guts to talk like they can resist the icc forever?.

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    • 2 March 2012 09:36, by Otong

      ICC is just become a disease that can never cure. Why wasting time always taking Bashir to ICC and fail? Does that means afraid for Sudan govenment or not? If the world afraid for Basir let them not waste their time just we South Sudan can take him tom you immediately.

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  • 2 March 2012 08:23, by justin deng

    The ICC must take immediate action against Sudanese notorious criminals bcoz the more they are indicted is the more they commit worse crimes.the ethnic cleansing will never finish in Sudan unless indigenous Africans put aside the fake Islam which entrapped them & realise their dignity.Otherwise they will be the marginalize of marginalize & slaves of criminals everlastingly.

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  • 2 March 2012 08:32, by justin deng

    Upto now,African sudanese are the majority of N.Sudan & are still being treated as minority by cunning few Arabs.
    The Arabs’ expiry date in Sudan is approaching you will prove it right soon.

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    • 2 March 2012 08:54, by Paul Ongee

      Look at this stupid statement "We are not concerned with the court and the decisions that come out of it. We, like the United States and Russia, are not signatories to the Rome Statute governing the court,"

      When did Sudan become a world superpower? A superpower without economic, technological, political and democratic clout? What the whole world and ICC know Sudan is a superpower of war crimes..

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      • 2 March 2012 09:08, by Paul Ongee

        ...What the whole world and ICC know Sudan is a superpower of war crimes, ethnic cleansing, competitive interpretation of Quran to govern Sudan; and above all, a superpower of religious, political, economic, social, cultural marginalization in the history of the country.

        Final warning: All the 51 members of the National Criminal Party are expected to report to The Hague within 24 hours.

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        • 2 March 2012 09:13, by Paul Ongee

          I repeat,

          Final warning: All the 51 members of the National Criminal Party are expected to report to The Hague within 24 hours. You don’t need a roll call, do you?

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        • 2 March 2012 10:50, by Longa

          Paul, you really put your comments in a proper order. The leadership in Kartoum is becoming reckless in its response to events unfolding. When did Sudan become like Russia and America? Last time, Sudan said, it will set up a kind of court to try those who perpetrated crimes in Darfur but nothing was done. This is an indication that the govt wanted to make a cover up of the crimes done.

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  • 2 March 2012 11:10, by morogot batal

    we are not a signitory of rome like america etc..
    - have you seen american killing inocent civilians, looting, raping, cleancing ethenic, stealing in a day light like what you have been doing to darfur, nuba mt., blue nile, south sudan etc.?
    - does it mean if you are not a signitory, then you just kill any how ,throw the kids on fire ,raping, cleancing african ethnic without accountability ?BIG NOOO

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    • 2 March 2012 11:25, by morogot batal

      I think south sudan with the rest of the african patriots countries have to mark this and ask why some of the african countries allow the international needed criminal moving into their countries free.
      - this criminal comited his crime in africa.
      - he was and is killing africans not romans,americans,etc.
      - you may think of having good relationship with him on african fellow blood and lives.BIG SORY..

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    • 2 March 2012 20:49, by emad

      Yes i have seen Americans killing more than 2 million people most of whom are children and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yes i have seen American raping women in the notorious prison of Aboghareeb in Iraq. what justice are you talking about,let them try Bush and Blair first.this so called ICC was set up only for black people like us if not i challenge you to show me a single white individual trid

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      • 2 March 2012 22:33, by morogot batal

        poor mind emad or mad

        you coment to be black african.talking of iraq, afganitan and etc.is the killing of african sudanese by arabs lost people in sudan a payback of iraq and all those you mention in your comment?though what you say is a big lie because i dont and no one ever come across these lies you quoted. so keeep on selling african blood and lives till it blast on you one day

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  • 2 March 2012 17:49, by Anynya One

    God knows we are human beings who cares and can have mercy through reconcile. Reconciliation commission is one of the bast ideas Arabs should perform to gain recognition, otherwise they will shortly leave Africa forever and ever.

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  • 2 March 2012 18:22, by solider

    If the US want peace between N &S why they never drag s kordofan rebels into a roadmap with khartoum? bashir traveled several times abroad but never been arrested,why? it means one thing ,america wants N & S have a war so s sudan is forced to buy expensive weapons .US gave Kiir and bagan 8 billions after shutting the oil.half of that cash went on weapons to s kordofan rebels

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  • 2 March 2012 18:32, by solider

    if a war broke between N &S america can get up to 500 billions USD profits out of selling advanced weapons to s.sudan.White man never care about how many ppl will die on that deal coz he doesn’t give a damn about NIGROS.Welcome to the white man’s farm

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  • 2 March 2012 21:58, by Chok Deng

    For the African countries who are not cooperating with the ICC to arrest the criminals,then what is your work,when your own brothers & sisters are killed by these gangs and you have no a word to say.This fake AU(African Union)is useless it has nothing to do,they never ever attempt to condemn these criminals,but when ICC attempt to bring these very groups to book they claim to be targeted.

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