Home | News    Monday 6 July 2009

Botswana will not abide by AU decision on Sudan’s Bashir: Official


July 5, 2009 (WASHINGTON) — The government of Botswana criticized the decision by the African Union (AU) granting a continent-wide reprieve to the Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir from arrest pursuant to the International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant.

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Sudanese president Ome Hassan Al-Bashir

On Friday, the leaders of 30 African countries that have ratified the Rome Statute issued a resolution in Sirte, Libya announcing that they will not honor their obligations under the convention relating to apprehension of ICC indicted individuals.

The Sudanese foreign minister spokesperson Ali Al-Sadiq said that Bashir is now free to travel to any African country without fear of arrest.

Al-Sadiq further said the decision is binding to all African countries without having to wait for the parliaments to ratify the resolution.

But the Botswanaian foreign minister Phandu Skelemani made surprise statements suggesting that the resolution was forced upon its members.

Skelemani said he tried to make his country’s stance known at the summit and had his hands up for a comment, along with many others, but the chairman of the AU Muammar Gadaffi chose to close the question.

“At the summit it is not everyone who spoke. We had our hands up, but one member moved that the question should be put,” he said to Agence France Presse (AFP).

African diplomats said that the Libyan backed text was agreed to at the foreign ministers level through a vote and at the leadership meeting with a consensus.

“Consensus usually means unanimity, but in this case there was some dissent," said Benin Foreign Minister Jean-Marie Ehouzou, who said objections by Chad or others would likely be added as caveats to the final summit declaration.

The Botswanaian official said that the position of his government on the issue was clear.

“Before this summit Botswana’s stance was made public. We said we will hand Al-Bashir over to the ICC if ever he came to our shores,” Skelemani said.

The ICC was established specifically to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community by, for instance, prosecuting those suspected of committing genocide, crime against humanity and war crimes, Skelemani said.

“The people of Africa and Sudan in particular have been victims of these crimes. Botswana strongly holds the view that the people of Africa, including the people of Sudan, deserve to be protected from the perpetrators of such crimes,” he said.

The Rome Statute which forms the basis of the ICC puts legal obligation on the members states for the apprehension of individuals wanted by the court if he arrives in their territories.

This year Botswana and South Africa have publicly announced that they will apprehend the Sudanese head of state if he visits. However Djibouti and Comoros Island announced that they will not honor their obligations under the Rome Statute.

But the Sudanese foreign ministry spokesperson suggested that South Africa’s stance has changed.

“Maybe at one point, the new South African government expressed some negative views ... As South Africa was part of the decision at Sirte, it implies that this means he would be able to travel there” Al-Sadiq said.

The legal aspects of the decision at the Sirte summit are unclear. International treaties ratified by a state are binding in whole unless it decides to withdraw from it altogether.

The London based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat quoted the South African president Jacob Zuma as saying that the African stance on the issue did not change against the ICC adding that peace be achieved in Darfur before thinking about reaching a decision on Bashir.

Darfur rebels and human rights organizations condemned the decision saying it grants impunity to a war indicted individual.

In 2004 the UNSC formed a UN commission of inquiry to look into Darfur abuses headed by former President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Italian Antonio Cassese.

The five-member commission included three African figures from Ghana, South Africa and Egypt.

The commission concluded that the government did not pursue a policy of genocide in the Darfur region but that Khartoum and government-sponsored Arab militias known as the Janjaweed engaged in “widespread and systematic” abuse that may constitute crimes against humanity.

They further said that Sudanese judiciary is “is unable or unwilling” to prosecute those crimes and thus recommended referring the situation to the ICC.

The UNSC issued resolution 1593 under chapter VII in March 2005 referring the situation in Darfur to the ICC. At the time Tanzania and Benin voted in support of the resolution while Algeria abstained.


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  • 6 July 2009 05:28, by oshay

    It doesn’t matter, Sudan has no diplomatic relations with Botswana so President Bashir will never visit there. Plus our GDP is three times as theirs we have a much better military and a higher financial growth rate which makes Botswana’s negative stance irrelevant.

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    • 6 July 2009 06:28, by Ambago

      Whatsoever marks the real cause of jubilations by the Sudanese Islamic and genocide regime in Khartoum is still unclear to me.

      At a point I feel that the Sudanese foreign ministry’s spoke’s person is trying his level best to make as much propaganda out of the Sirte declaration of promoting impunity by this typical Arab way of exaggerating ones side of a story.

      After all al Bashir has been paying visits to even countries like Ghana who are not only signatories to the Rome Statue, but also a member of the 5 countries’ commission that referred the Darfur issue to the UNSC.

      So saying that Al Bashir is now free to visit even the African countries who are members to the Rome Statue that in fact forms the basis of the ICC, is still a vague situation because these countries are right now in the middle of chaos as to where their loyalties lie.

      No doubt if the AU was able to sell the people of Darfur at this particular instance, then what is the guarantee that it won’t do the same with Al Bashir.

      It remains yet to be seen how this AU is going to react to issues like salvaging the Sudanese historical Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that brought peace to south Sudan, as it is now on its way to collapse due to constant violations by this very ICC fugitive of Khartoum and his NIF/NCP.

      Botswana has shown example of a modern African state that lives and abides to high moral values, and though someone went into child play by drawing comparisons between Botswana and Sudan over material things, assuming that all his points were correct, still the government and the people of Botswana are going to bed with clear conscience and clean hands.

      Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, United Kingdom.

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    • 6 July 2009 07:47, by Asante Milla L

      You’re truely right. I don’t think country like Botswana which is very unpopular will really have any influence in Sudan. After all, I don’t remember the last time President Bashir has been there. They might just be taking this stance the gain support from the West. But we don’t need them along with their western masters..

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  • 6 July 2009 05:39, by Mr Famous Big_Logic_Boy

    I praise you 100 times Mr president for this great idea, keep up and God will repay you in your effort toward this monster of arabs islamic terrorist group who call himself Albshir. Your the real son of African who believe in justices for all. Let bashir sing like a bird in summar with his arab company of AU which is now under terrorist plus dictatorship, but winter will soon get to his ribs. He has a big pride of himself because In South we have visionless and mad junglese/dinkas who campaign for him to win, it is because they are addicated to their slavery company with arabs.

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    • 6 July 2009 09:51, by agaarmadong

      Hey mr.logic dog!!!!!

      What a dirty animal you are? son of a monkey, offspring of an ass and the last foolish in the world!!!!

      you completely know nothing about the south sudanese tribes,only what you have in south sudan is high rank in tribalism.Look,even if in the international Issue you still come down to abuse the Dinkas. But if we are to tell the realities, your tribe didn’t make up one battalion in the movement.Majority of south sudan liberators are the Dinkas that you have nick named today as"coward.’’ If the number of Dinkas killed in Equatoria are to be risen today, they will out number the total population of your regeon.

      logic, you are running after the DINKAS like a stray dog
      but make sure that you will not remain in your hide outs.
      you abuse the dinkas exteriorly but praise them interiorly.

      Keep up Botswana!

      AU was formed to look into African problems but not to sponsore killings as we are now watching it.

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    • 6 July 2009 10:49, by dengdit

      Mr Famous Big_Logic_Boy is an Arab from Northern Sudan not a Southerner.
      We will find him soon to confirm it.

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  • 6 July 2009 06:05, by Samson Shawel Ambaye

    Africa wants to see Gadafi being removed from his post for being president for decades with out election or change. When is Gadafi’s resigination and when is new Libyan president to lead Libya a country with out human leader for decades. gadafi is more criminal than Bashir if there was investigation against his regime. ICC must also begin investigation regarding Gadafi’s presidency. There must be a concrete crime behind his office other wise why is all this protection and argument for Bashir?

    African move on Bashir dismissed

    The African Union’s (AU) decision not to help arrest Sudan’s president will not affect the International Criminal Court’s work, its prosecutor says.
    Luis Moreno Ocampo told the BBC Omar al-Bashir was still a wanted man and that it was up to each African state to decide whether to arrest him.
    Mr Bashir was indicted over alleged atrocities in Darfur in March.
    But on Friday an AU meeting in Libya agreed a resolution saying they would not co-operate in his arrest.
    In a statement, the AU pointed out that its request to the UN Security Council to delay Mr Bashir’s indictment had been ignored.
    Mr Ocampo told the BBC that the AU decision was no victory for Sudan or Mr Bashir. "No-one is saying he’s innocent," he said.
    He said each of the 30 African states that signed up to the Rome treaty establishing the court would have to decide for themselves whether to arrest the Sudanese leader.
    And he added that only the Security Council could suspend or lift the indictment against Mr Bashir, not the ICC.
    The court has indicted the Sudanese president on two counts of war crimes - intentionally directing attacks on civilians and pillage - as well as five counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and torture, all related to the conflict in the Darfur region.
    He denies the allegations, saying the state has a responsibility to fight rebels.
    Botswana has confirmed it will not abide by the AU’s decision to ignore the arrest warrant.
    Foreign Minister Phandu Skelemani told the BBC the AU decision had been rushed through without a vote, and countries could not be expected to renege on treaties "because of a sulk".

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  • 6 July 2009 06:25, by Kur

    Justice is not negotiable outside the court. The war criminal Mr. Bashir must surrender to the ICC. It is that simple. Even if he dies, his bones will be put on trail to serve as a reminder that war crimes and genocide will not go unpunished.

    It is a mistake for the AU to protect one evil janjaweed without considering the life of millions killed in Darfur. The AU at this point is a completely disfunctional and confused organization struggling to define itself. It has lost credibility among the ordinary Africans as it becomes a night club of dictators who want to murder people and hide behind this organization. Hell with AU.


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    • 6 July 2009 09:16, by Ajuscommando

      Congratulation to Botswana president to rejected AU decision and support ICC to deal with individual crime according to the law. I concur with Botswana president speech and not to apprehension on the future of Omer Bashir since he has committed many crimes in the country. I wish all African ICC members should not be renege from their membership in the ICC decision. The situation in Sudan need good care from International community not only Africa because the current situation in Dafur is miserable to Dafurian people while Khartoum government is keeping on civilians on the ground. We need zoom decision to be taking against the present conduct of Sudan government toward on Dafur innocent civilians since president Bshair behave like a drug man. Please Please African leaders, avoid supporting criminal as he can carrying his cross alone because Omer Bashir knowns the type of crime he committed in Western region of Sudan.

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    • 6 July 2009 10:09, by mathem jech amer

      African Union

      I appreciate your stance on ICC arrest warrant against Albashir. This is a very good move toward normalizing relations between African nations. I advise Bashir to continue his operations against Darfurians in order to raise the number killed from 300,000 as estimated by UN to 2,000,000 people.

      When it is estimated 2 millions people killed in Darfur, the case filled against him will turn to genocide, which will accelerate his process of execution. To accuse him of these minor cases won’t help the people of Darfur to see justice done.

      Lastly, I support Bashir to launch his offensive against Darfur rebels as well as Chad Government using his newly made planes and watch what reaction will come from ICC and UNSC.

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  • 6 July 2009 08:01, by Elhag

    The Darfur conflict as it became complicated; it shows many of African weakness. For Gadaffi to pass that resolution after the failure of his first attempt in Ethiopia last month, he invited the First Vice President of Sudan and the President of Government of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, in Libya, where he was been asked to meet Gadaffi at three O’clock in the morning (at that time one mentality is distorted), then informed by Gadaffi that, “he can support South Sudan it chose to get independence”. Salva was pleased and later convey this in a Juba church. That was what Gadaffi was aimed at, and the news spreads, some Africans countries which supports cessation of South Sudan start looking to Gadaffi differently, and through different means, that resolutions was passed, but isn’t the same Gadaffi is the one who start backing the Arabs tribes in Darfur! Therefore, if Bashir is taken to Hugh, Gadaffi name will also be mentioned, hence Gadaffi is protecting himself. So Africa Leaders, just tarnish our reputations and dignity in Serit.
    The Botswana decision of not abiding by the well coked plane by Gadaffi, gives hope to all of us Africans, that still there are people with great dignity and pride towards the cause of their people. Botswanaian foreign minister Phandu Skelemani, makes me fell proud of myself once again when I heard his BBC interview, you uphold the justice and humanity, you stand firmly when many giants falls.

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  • 6 July 2009 11:11, by tayeb M. Alhassan

    WHAT IS BOTSWANA !!!!!!!!!!!!!????????????

    BOTSWANA BITA’A SONO !!!!!!!!!!!??????????

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    • 6 July 2009 13:26, by Hillary B.M.L,M

      ??????? ?????? ??? ?????? ??? ????? ???????? ???????

      This country deserve Reword for its stance as true Africa country not Coward ones who just because of the nice food prepared for them by Libyan President, blindly agreed on the wrong one man decision.

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