July 10, 2008 (WASHINGTON) – The Washington Post quoted UN officials and diplomats as saying that Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir will be charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC) with genocide and crimes against humanity.
- Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir gestures during a joint press conference with Italian Premier Romano Prodi, not pictured, at the end of their meeting at Chigi Palace, in Rome, Sept. 14, 2007 (AP)
Earlier today the ICC announced that its prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo will hold a press conference on Monday revealing his new case “on crimes committed in the whole of Darfur over the last five years”.
It is not clear how countries will react to the indictement of Al-Bashir.
The international community was actively preparing itself for the possibility that the Sudanese president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir may be named as a Darfur war crimes suspect by the ICC next week.
Western diplomats and world officials appeared nervous that Khartoum may retaliate to charges against Al-Bashir by expelling aid organizations and peacekeeping forces from Darfur.
Sudan’s U.N. ambassador Abdel-Mahmood Mohamed told reporters that “all options are on the table” if Sudan president is indeed indicted.
Mohamed is scheduled to meet with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon tomorrow afternoon.
The UN chief refused to comment on the speculations of Al-Bashir’s indictments saying that “as a Secretary General I am not in a position to mention anything officially before the announcement by the ICC”.
“In principal I believe that peace and justice should go hand in hand. Justice can be part of a peace process but peace without justice cannot be sustainable” he added.
However Ban Ki-Moon said he will assess the situation after the suspects are named next week.
The UN mission in Sudan elevated its threats level in anticipation of the ICC announcement and the Inner City Press website reported that a visit by a key logistics official in the Darfur mission to New York fearing that Sudan “may order the UN out of Darfur”.
In his report to the UN Security Council (UNSC) last month, Ocampo made his harshest condemnation of Khartoum saying that he collected evidence of a “criminal plan based on the mobilization of the whole state apparatus, including the armed forces, the intelligence services, the diplomatic and public information bureaucracies, and the justice system”.
Ocampo said that his office is investigating who “is maintaining Haroun in a position to commit crimes; who is instructing him and others”.
The statements by Ocampo were taken to suggest that he is going after senior Sudanese officials.
But Sudan has so far refused to hand over two of its citizens charged by the ICC of war crimes last year saying the world court has no jurisdiction.
The judges of the ICC issued their first arrest warrants for suspects accused of war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region in early May.
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 not ratified the Rome Statue, but the UN Security Council triggered 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.