Home | News    Friday 9 October 2009

AU panel submits report on Darfur but kept confidential

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October 8, 2009 (WASHINGTON) – The African Union (AU) panel on Darfur (AUPD) headed by the former South African president Thabo Mbeki has officially submitted its report to the Pan-African body but its content will not be released until a special AU summit later this month.

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Former South African President Thabo Mbeki (R) hands to the chairperson of African Union Commission Jean Ping, the report compiled by the high level panel on the Darfur crisis, at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, October 8, 2009 (Reuters)

At a ceremony at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa Mbeki handed the lengthy report to the Chairperson of the AU Commission Jean Ping, eight month after its establishment.

The fact finding mission was formed in the wake of the imminent arrest warrant that was to be issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.

The AU was wary of the warrant since the ICC prosecutor presented his case to the judges in July 2008, cautioning that it would throw Sudan into chaos.

However, the UN Security Council (UNSC) refused to heed to the AU request to defer the warrant for 12 months under Article 16 of the Rime Statute.

Last July the African leaders angered by the UNSC dismissal of its request announced that it will not cooperate with the ICC in apprehending the Sudanese president.

Mbeki has reportedly lobbied to prevent the resolution from passing arguing that it will undermine the work of his panel.

The move led critics to downplay the AUPD work suggesting that it seeks to further assert that Bashir should be spared prosecution for the sake of peace.

Some Darfur rebels refused to meet with Mbeki for that reason including Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

In a speech at the ceremony, the former South African president gave no indication as to what recommendations he made on the ICC row.

Mbeki said that everybody concerned, from President Bashir on down, agree that justice must be done and must be seen to be done, Voice of America (VOA) reported.

In his delivered remarks, the former South African president stressed that peace, justice and reconciliation should be approached at the same time warning that neither should have precedence over the other.

“The Panel is therefore firmly of the view that any attempt to present any of these issues as taking precedence over any other would be counter-productive, and would militate against the speedy achievement of the just and lasting peace for which the people of Darfur yearn,” Mbeki said.

He noted that while Darfuris don’t want to secede from Sudan, their feelings of marginalization and underdevelopment should be recognized.

“That root cause is the marginalization and underdevelopment of Darfur as a result of policies and practices implemented throughout Sudan during both the colonial and post-colonial periods,” the AUPD chair said.

“This is represented as a gross imbalance between a strong centre and a marginalized periphery, which resulted in political power and wealth being concentrated in the centre, with the consequent negative consequences on the periphery” he added.

Mbeki disclosed that while their mandate was confined to Darfur they had “no choice but to consider the wider Sudan setting as it relates to the resolution of the conflict in Darfur, precisely to ensure that it discharges its mission,”.

He further said all parties in the region agree that Sudan’s judicial system must take the lead role in Darfur war crimes prosecutions.

“Whatever the ICC might have done does not absolve Sudan from acting on crimes that might have been committed. So it is still the responsibility of the Sudanese state to act on those matters,” he said.

It is not clear if that indicates that the panel will suggest that the ICC should let to prosecute Bashir and other individuals charged by The Hague based court while allowing local tribunals to try the rest.

Last month a senior official at the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) in New York, who asked not to be named, told Sudan Tribune that he expects the panel to make a finding that the Sudanese judiciary “is unable and unwilling to carry out credible and genuine prosecutions in Darfur”.

“Based on what I know it is likely that the panel will recommend hybrid courts with the participation of Arab and African judges that conforms with international standards to try those not already charged by the ICC which means that Bashir and others will still have to answer at the Hague. Neither the panel nor the AU have the power to strip the ICC from its mandate particularly when Sudan has done little in that department,” the official said.

“I also expect them to call for a truth and reconciliation commission in Darfur,” he added.

Ping, who has been a fervent critic of the ICC, said the international community should be a "facilitator not a complicator" in the Darfur conflict that has raged since early 2003.

"The legal quest for justice should be undertaken in a way that does not block or compromise the search of peace," he added.

It remains to be seen if the AU will press Khartoum to implement the recommendations. Sudanese officials in the past have said that they respect the AUPD and will abide by its suggestions.

Some observers say that the AU, which historically supported Khartoum positions, will be reluctant to put any pressure to execute the findings of the commission.

Mbeki stressed that only Sudanese can resolve their problems and not other countries warning of “forum shopping” for solutions.

(ST)

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  • 9 October 2009 07:02, by soldier boy

    Mbeki need to know how the freaking Arabs think...Arabs don’t think like White Euopean peaple...My point is that Arabs loves to lie to and kill enocent people like they did in Southern Sudan but God is watching we all childernt of God no one is better than other no nation is better than other...so Mbeki and got damn stupid African union need to stop helping Bashir with his government.

    repondre message

    • 9 October 2009 09:59, by DASODIKO

      The AU State members and Mbeki Bin Thabo should know that the people of the margin of the Sudan who are most the African origins knows Arabs mentalities better than any of the African leaders. We have been Arabized by forces since 50 years ago. We speak the same language, studied together, ate together and sometimes married from each other. But the conclusion we Sudanese Africans came out is that all Arab are genetically born hypocrates, lairs and cheaters by nature.
      So its very strange to see the African leaders trust on Gaddafi on what he says and what he do. I hate no one but we hate the evil acts that destroy other humans on the expense of other humans. In fifty years time we Africans are regarded slaves the third class citizens in our own land. But whatever looks Arab as supper and first class, to the extend that the Sudanese African turned to look whatever looks African as sign of backwardness and primitive.
      So why do African leaders including Thabo Bin Mbeki is standing on the side of the perpetrators and leaving your brother Africans? South Africa is rich and you took much from it. If you need money or investments why don’t you support your brothers as we supported South Africa and you will get better of the chance in the near future.
      The reconciliation you talking about; your own son will not accept it if a man who kills you is not taken to justice. More over as you are South African; do you think that the son of our freedom singer LUCKY Dupe will reconcile with the thieves who killed his father for just to steal his car before they are taken to justice?

      repondre message

  • 9 October 2009 09:57, by Albino Kuel

    Dear every one
    am very confuse when human being are insulted themselves that you are an Africa dog and are in the same nature of God creature.therefore, this is how its be determine through worng does to ourselves in Africa and leave belief in God or Alla.I want to asure every body that Bashir is the right guy to defend himself infront of ICC and if AU knew some thing why should the allow Bashir before to killed Darfur and are within Sudan?
    please ,it will be ashame on you AU you don’t have right now to defend Omar,he must see ICC for his first time

    Thanks Bros and Sisters

    Wen Madut Duwar

    repondre message

  • 9 October 2009 11:32, by Njara Ndarago

    The panel on Darfur is working in the interest of Al Bashir and nothing else.

    Intelligent

    repondre message

    • 9 October 2009 16:36, by kalo

      African leaders are almost all dictators and self centred rather than protecting civilians from oppression.Sudan is not a country that can be favored if AU is not a weak body which is taking us no where in Sudan.better to keep quit and leave alone ICC to deal with Bashir and his government.

      repondre message

  • 10 October 2009 16:51, by boukmanne

    I just wonder why ST must post such rubbish,...whom is this intended to help the people of Darfur, the people of Sudan, Africans or their enemies who seed distrust and animosity among them with impunity,... and for such a long time!!
    How can any person with sincere concern for Africa can claim “AU is stupid”; what a shame and, if African, lack of self respect. Only when Africans will be true masters of their affairs can they succeed, no one expects this is achievable by declaration of words! It is a struggle, an uphill one taking dear prices, and part of the unfinished continuing struggle of Africa and its people for freedom and full suzerainty! Remember that just over decade ago Mbeki was a fugitive and this in his own homeland.

    repondre message

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