Home | News    Monday 20 July 2009

African Union dismisses criticisms on ICC resolution

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July 19, 2009 (WASHINGTON) — The African Union (AU) issued a statement last week in response to growing criticism over the procedure that led to the adoption of a resolution halting cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in apprehending Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.

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The decision at the summit held in Libya earlier this month was reportedly taken by consensus but officials from Botswana and Chad accused the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi forced AU countries to accept the draft text without debate.

Both countries said they will not adhere to the AU decision and that they will arrest Bashir if he arrives at their shores.

The AU rejected the claims saying that the decision was taken by consensus.

“The decision by the Assembly on the Meeting of African States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court was arrived at by Consensus after due consideration by the Executive Council at which a number of amendments were made to the draft decision” the AU said.

“At the level of the Assembly, the decision was adopted by consensus with only one opinion to the contrary, which was duly recorded as a reservation”.

The Chairperson of the Commission of the AU Jean Ping had told reporters at the beginning of the summit that the countries are unlikely to taken any stance against the ICC despite widespread criticism towards the court.

However, it was later reported that Libya abruptly circulated a draft text calling all African ICC signatories not to execute any arrest warrant for African indicted personalities.

The text, which was hotly debated, was changed from refusing to arrest any African individual to specifying that it was only Bashir who would be afforded immunity.

Darfur rebels and human right groups accused Gaddafi of “bullying” his peers into adopting the resolution which runs contrary to their obligations under the ICC Statute.

They also said that the AU resolution amounts to condoning impunity and human right violations against African civilians.

But the Pan-African body said that the decision “was taken in conformity with the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly and the Executive Council and was not and could not have been dictated by any one Member State against all the others as implied in some press statements”.

The AU further said that the resolution “reflects the consistent position of the AU of unflinching commitment of AU member states to combating impunity and promoting democracy, the rule of law and good governance on the continent as enunciated in the constitutive Act of the Union”.

“It also underlines the need to empower the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights to deal with serious crimes of international concern in a manner complementary to national jurisdiction”.

The Rome Statute, which is the founding text of the ICC, prevents the prosecutor from initiating investigation into cases being looked into by the national judiciary.

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 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 ICC prosecutor in his reports said that the Sudanese government has not taken serious steps to prosecute those suspected of being behind the war crimes in Sudan’s Western region of Darfur.

The AU statement asserts that the decision Sudan “is a logical consequence of the stated position of the AU on the manner in which the prosecution against President Bashir has been conducted”.

“The publicity-seeking approach of the ICC Prosecutor, the refusal by the UN Security Council to address the request made by the African Union and other important International groupings for deferment of the indictment against President Bashir of The Sudan, under Article 16 of the Rome Statute of the ICC”.

The AU has failed to convince the UNSC to defer the indictment of Bashir which angered some African officials.

The AU commissioner Ping, who is one of the fiercest critics of the ICC said that the regional body is “showing to the world community that if you don’t want to listen to the continent, if you don’t want to take into account our proposals... if you don’t want to listen to the continent, as usual, we also are going to act unilaterally,".

The statement reiterated calls on the UNSC to halt the ICC proceedings against the Sudanese head of state.

“The AU decision should be received as a very significant pronouncement by the supreme AU decision-making body and a balanced expression of willingness to promote both peace and justice in Darfur and in The Sudan as a whole”

“It is now incumbent upon the United Nations Security Council to seriously consider the request by the AU for the deferral of the process initiated by the ICC, in accordance with Article 16 of the Rome Statute”.

Last week more than a dozen South African NGO’s called on their government to distance themselves from the AU decision.

The NGO’s were also joined by several prominent South African figures including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Richard Goldstone, former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

“As a State Party to the Rome Statute, South Africa is obliged to cooperate fully with the ICC in the arrest and transfer of President al-Bashir to the ICC, whether or not it agrees with the indictment” the statement read.

“Should the South African government persist with its support for the decision it will do so in open defiance of its own Constitution and law”.

Also this week the Ugandan government, a signatory to the ICC, agreed with Sudan that Bashir would not attend a summit he was invited to in Kampala to avoid a “diplomatic incident”.

Khartoum responded angrily saying that Uganda is reneging on its obligation under the AU decision.

(ST)

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  • 20 July 2009 05:53, by oshay

    Until the ICC starts investigating those same member who refer cases to the ICC all decisions made by the body are politically. How can the 5 member of the security council who have a veto power to stop any prosecution against be brought to justice when the commit war crimes.

    What about the genocide of Iraqi Children during the 1990s when 500,000 died and the then Secretary of State Madeline Albright said that their deaths were worth it.

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  • 20 July 2009 05:58, by Kur

    I fail to understand how the AU says that allowing Bashir to move freely in Africa without being arrested would promote justice in the Sudan? This is one of the lowest standard understanding of justice at all. How does the AU explain to the victims of war in Darfur? How would those who have been raped interpret this resolution? You’re all bunch of criminals who protect evil dictators instead of the innocent victims.

    Kur

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    • 20 July 2009 10:04, by mohamad adam

      mr kur it will be the same as they ignored the death of 500000 iragi children and millions of black south africans
      by the way what did they do [africans] for the apartheid regime and big botha is still alliive?
      why dont you coment about the deaths and the ashaming colonisation of phalastine the onli remaining colonised country in the world?
      mr kur and all the black african like me we have to admit that we value the white man like god because simpli you and any person from subsahara africa can not object a deseasion made by a white man even if he wants to fuck your own ass
      stop fooling your self because you can not fool an indipendent hearted person
      shame upon you
      shame upon dismond tito the biggest dog of white men

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      • 20 July 2009 14:51, by AU in Arab blood

        Sorry mahamid adam,youcliamed to be a black Sudanese-well, if you are or not,let me tell you mr.lost man,the black south africans got indepence from the aparthied policy colonialist.
        So, adam you what us-black sudanese to continue under Arab in direct colonialism?
        Mind you adam, the white man and the Arab man are highly intelligent people, so we should be thinking about our own future outside theirs.The white man benefited from colonialism and changed to atleast fair ways and does not what any other race to practice injustices they practiced before.The Arab still want to continue with the businese(slavery of black men which old tradition said is not a sin).
        As you said, you are a black-so like to be enslaved?
        Those countries who support the Arab resume in Sudan are free from white man and Arab slvery and you deliveritly support that.
        Let us -black sudanese be proud of our selves struggle to rule the white and the Arab as the case is in kenya ,Uganda Bwasawana ect

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      • 22 July 2009 10:28, by emmanuel adol

        stop being crazy! please adam or whosoever you called yourself that type of brain you have have expire can you ask your father bashir to seek for you a doctor because the way you use to comment is not for a normal body is so silly ,is very stupid enough of course we can allow our fellows christians to colonised us rather than arabs ,may i just ask you to stop commenting on this website because we do not want those idiocy comments like those of yours .

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  • 20 July 2009 06:35, by Mr Famous Big_Logic_Boy

    Mr Famous Big-Logic-Boy < Fraud

    Mr Famous Big_Logic_Boy < original

    Fake AU chairman is not as wise. He could have being fool by his counterpart bashir or gaged by some $$$/SDG of our oil. If the chairman of AU is fightering for criminals to roam free in this nation then the ones in their graves will answer him politely.

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  • 20 July 2009 08:11, by Otong

    Oshay,

    You so call themselves Arabs in Sudan should know that Palestinians and Iraqi people are not the only human who are not deserves to be killed, no body should die it a human right.

    But when it comes to Arabs killing people in South Sudan, Dar fur, Christian in Egypt, and Iraqi you think simply it an accusations against you Arabs, all you need to know is that we leave in technology and media age where people get the information easily, the evidence are there for anybody to check whether there is genocide happing in Dar fur or not. Please don’t just support Bashir because he is an Arabs, but think about the people of the Dar fur as human as you are.

    Thanks,

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    • 20 July 2009 09:57, by Ambago

      The Sudanese President Omer Hassan al Bashir remains to be arrest if he ever sets foot in any law abiding democratic nation who is a signatory to the Rome Statue.

      Now the decision taken by the AU expecting the 30 member countries who signed the Rome Statue to distance them from arresting al Bashir is a clear breaching of their international legal obligations as well as breaching their own sovereign constitutions.

      AU can no longer save al Bashir as the arrest warrants are already issued and at the same time the UNSC is not convinced of the reasons presented to it by the AU to justify the use of article 16 of the Statue to suspend the arrest warrant. Nor is AU’s latest absurd behaviour of going unilaterally or even contrarily to UNSC will be of any help as it will never force any of the five permanent members to do anything against its own regulations in order to please some African leaders outside there who still live in the delusion that they are above the law and thus promoting impunity.

      If AU is working to establish human rights courts within its member countries then they should just go ahead as they in fact need those courts so that when their turns come, they will be judged locally in them saving all the running currently involved.

      However for the sake of clarity, they (African Leaders) must also be reminded that the time for al Bashir of Sudan to be judged in those to be established African courts is already long gone. As al Bashir’s arrest warrants come from The Hague, then to The Hague he must go.

      Furthermore, these 30 African countries who are being coerced by the devilish Ghadafi of Libya to quit the ICC, they and their coercers in the AU should understand that even if these countries pull out of the ICC, Omer al Bashir will still remain to be a fugitive who is wanted on counts of crimes against humanity, war crimes and possibly genocide.

      The Darfur crisis has really shown to the entire world how fake some of the world’s structures are. It has put each and every human being to the test of conscience and as time goes more and more revelations shall come to pass.

      Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, MD. United Kingdom.

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    • 20 July 2009 10:16, by mohamad adam

      mr broher otong who told you that arab are considering bashir or any other so called arabs in north sudan as arab/
      mr otong if we meet face to face you will consider me as an arab but the fact which is known to you and me and all the sudanese is that the arabs take us as abeed or call it slaves or they regard us as monkeys so pleas syou and other comentors try to think deepli in the issue of basheer
      and by the way wasnt gadafi for a long time is the major supporter for spla? did you ask your self why yet spla was fighting the so called arabs?
      when will you mature politicaly my fellow sudanese from south or north all are short minded

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      • 21 July 2009 09:07, by ojok s. ojok

        adam, you are talking like you in the pot. which arab country support Libya when it was sanctioned by america? tell me which country from so called arab world in africa including your father help Libya at that time? all the arabs were scared until Mandela step in and rescue Libya? your little knowledge still full of food so you need to go to school.

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        • 21 July 2009 15:41, by mohamad adam

          mr ojok i think your brain does not function properli read my coments carefully and try to coment
          i had never tlked about arabs as good people some body who consider me as a monkey or abeed or a slave how do you expect me to difend or love?
          pleas reply

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  • 20 July 2009 09:52, by Atenymaker

    “It also underlines the need to empower the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights to deal with serious crimes of international concern in a manner complementary to national jurisdiction”.
    Bear me witness of all the teror acts on human on the ground here in Darfur and compare theory ovre the practical and imagine THESE ATROCITIES IN HUMAN’S LIVES and yet African leaders are blackmailing the outlaws.
    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.

    Instead for Janjaweed and Alqaeda doing torror acts, why should mergenalized hide from death since there is no law to protect evreyone

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  • 20 July 2009 10:08, by Mr Point

    Is it any surprise that the African Union, which is run by a military dictator, should issue commands without proper vote by its members?

    The King of Africa, Gadhaafi, has no time for listening to complaints about human rights. The African Union is a club of military dictators joined together to support military dictators. What has it done to put a peacekeeping force in Darfur ? About 30 per cent.

    And Jean Ping, the chairman of AU, what is he? He became a diplomat by marrying the daughter of ex President Bongo of Gabon. Bongo was the corrupt ruler of Gabon for 40 years and became the richest man in Africa from the country’s oil reserves. Gabon is a symbol of the African Union - high wealth belonging to the country which isn’t used to benefit the people or reduce the high rate of infant death.

    The African Union will always support military dictators against the real interests of african people.

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    • 20 July 2009 14:55, by talentboy2

      listen guys, i am not here to support Arabs or those called themselves or southerner who called themselves real Sudanese, however i am going to explain to whats all this organizations mean to you and me.
      whats AU has done is very critical to understand for those who think one way.real African are sick of European who always think they are smart and have propare justice on this planet, for you to accept my advice, kickback and relax until 2012, you will see the benefit of AU. Because there northerner who are waiting for Bashir to be arrested and start suicide bombing and eventual destroy CPA. you get my point.I and you are sick of war and being refugees for centuries and we don’t want to path it on to our next generation that’s why AU want peaceful arrest of Bashir at right time or otherwise Bashir will those who responsible for massive death of Darfurian.
      i am southern and i am against the Rome statute because it will bring an other war to Africa Especially Sudan-oil rich nation.

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  • 20 July 2009 17:02, by Christopher Loro

    What has gone wrong with this AU leaders in regards to support they are giving to El Bashir against the people of Darfur or do they want oil.Let Bashir go to Hague base court so that the people of Darfur enjoy freedom and Justice.
    How can a regime kill his own people agaisnt its prolonging in power le me remind you AU that what so ever the support you give to Bashir, he will go to ICC and his days are numbered.
    Lorolokin.

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