June 11, 2008 (NEW YORK) – A senior Sudanese diplomat lashed out at the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Luis Moreno-Ocampo and called for his replacement.
- International Criminal Court prosecutor (ICC) Luis Moreno-Ocampo
Sudan’s U.N. ambassador Abdel-Mahmood Mohamed speaking to Reuters today described Ocampo as a “terrorist”.
Mohamed was responding to reports that the ICC attempted to divert a plane carrying a Sudanese minister accused of masterminding war crimes in Darfur.
Last week the ICC prosecutor told Sudan Tribune that the world court attempted to divert a plane that carried Ahmed Haroun, state minister for humanitarian affairs, on his way to Saudi Arabia in December to perform the annual Islamic pilgrimage.
The plan was coordinated with a number of unidentified countries. The Saudi government was made aware of it, according to Ocampo. Haroun ended up cancelling his travel plans after being tipped
The Sudanese envoy condemned the plan using harsh language.
“This is an act of terrorism…..It is piracy. Ocampo is a terrorist and he should be removed from the post" he said.
Mohamed also expressed fury over the countries that assisted the ICC with its plan.
“We are considering tough measures against this man. He should be removed without further delay," he said, adding that Ocampo and his plan should be condemned by the international community.
Yesterday the Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir echoed the same views on the ICC.
“We view the ICC as a first class terrorist organization” al-Bashir told Al-Sa’aa” Egyptian TV in an interview.
The judges of the ICC issued their first arrest warrants for suspects accused of war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region a year ago.
The warrants were issued for Ahmed Haroun, state minister for humanitarian affairs, and militia commander Ali Mohamed Ali Abdel-Rahman, also know as Ali Kushayb. Sudan has so far rejected handing over the two suspects.
Ocampo delivered his semi-annual report to the UN Security Council (UNSC) yesterday in which he provided information on his current investigations into the ongoing attacks against civilians in the war ravaged region.
The ICC prosecutor announced that he intends to charge Sudanese officials with war crimes next month.
Costa Rica, a non-permanent UNSC member, circulated a draft presidential statement calling on Sudan to cooperate with the ICC. It is not clear if the statement will gain unanimous approval required for adoption from council members.
There have also been reports that the statement may be tabled as a resolution since Russia, China, Libya and Indonesia raised objections to a weakened presidential statement.
But the Sudanese envoy slammed the draft statement last week and described Costa Rica as a “banana republic” during the UNSC visit to Khartoum.
The Inner City Press website said Panama’s Ambassador touring with the UNSC delegation responded by saying “at least we are a republic”.
Costa Rica’s U.N. Ambassador Jorge Urbina declined to comment on the Sudanese envoy’s remark. U.S. envoy Alejandro Wolff told reporters "it shows what little respect for the Security Council" Sudan has.
Sudan has not ratified the Rome Statue, but the UN Security Council (UNSC) invoked the provisions under the Statue that enables it to refer situations in non-State parties to the world court if it deems that it is a threat to international peace and security.