Home | News    Monday 2 November 2009

‘Our goal was to find a way out for Sudan president’ says Mbeki panel member


November 1, 2009 (WASHINGTON) – The African Union (AU) high level panel on Darfur wanted to find a way out for Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir from the International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment, one of the commission members said today in an interview.

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Former Egyptian Foreign Minister and member of the AU high level panel on Darfur (AUPD) Ahmed Maher El Sayed

This week the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) endorsed a report prepared by an eight-member team headed by former South African president Thabo Mbeki that was tasked with crafting a formula to resolve the conflict in Darfur that would take into consideration peace, justice and reconciliation.

The panel was formed weeks before the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Bashir prompting skepticism from Darfur rebels and other critics who say that the AU wants to circumvent the indictment, something which Mbeki has denied in meetings with Darfur IDP’s.

Mbeki called for a hybrid court to try war crimes suspects and changes to Sudanese laws. It took no position on the ICC warrant except to say that the Hague-based tribunal cannot try all the suspects, effectively supporting its work.

However, one of the members of the AU panel said that the goal of the mission was to give Bashir an exit strategy from the ICC row.

“Incriminating the president is out of question and fundamentally unacceptable” the former Egyptian foreign minister said in an interview with the Egypt based Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper.

“Our [Mbeki panel] goal was to find a way out [to Bashir] from the dilemma of the ICC that sparked a great deal of controversy,” Maher said.

The AUPD member, who served as Egypt’s Foreign Minister from 2001 until 2004, said that the ICC case against Bashir was “political” in nature and “biased” against the Sudanese head of state “with exaggeration in depicting the situation”.

“Demanding the prosecution of an African head of state before an international tribunal is totally unacceptable” the former Egyptian top diplomat said.

Maher said that achieving justice in Darfur “will be through Sudanese prosecution with African members selected by Sudan and agreed upon by the AU”.

“We are not prosecutors. We observe the situation and make sure that perpetrators are brought to justice and this is the task of the Sudanese judiciary. Whoever is involved should be prosecuted,” he said.

Maher noted that the panel found that dispute over resources between different ethnic groups as one of the “incorrect” situations during their work requiring a ceasefire, repatriation and providing compensation to the displaced.

The remarks made by Maher will likely cause a huge embarrassment to the AU and the panel chief, Mbeki who sought to quell accusations on seeking to protect the Sudanese president.

Mbeki is now heading the implementation team established by the AU to ensure that the recommendations see the light.

Alex De Waal, a Sudan expert who was also an adviser to the panel, writes in his blog ‘Making Sense of Darfur’, about what they encountered in their discussions on justice with various parties they met. De Waal gives examples of how the panel was initially met with intense skepticism on its impartiality by IDP’s and accusations that it is a cover up to protect Bashir from ICC prosecution.

“The allegation that Pres. Mbeki was intent on salvaging Pres. Bashir came up several times in the discussion. One woman said, “We fear you are here to defend the criminal Omar al Bashir.” One man stood up and said, “Seven members of my family were killed. How should I feel if Thabo Mbeki says that Omar al Bashir should not go to court?” De Waal writes.

“Pres. Mbeki challenged him, “from where did you get this information that I said that President Bashir should not go to court?” The man responded, “it is well known.” He then said that the Africans were the ones saying Bashir should not go to the ICC, citing the early June meeting in Addis Ababa to discuss the African position on the ICC. This reply did not satisfy Pres. Mbeki, who continued to press him, “I asked you a question. Please answer it. You made an allegation. From where did you get this information?” The man said it was the BBC”.

In Paris, the head of Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur reiterated his rejection of the hybrid court saying his movement only accepts the ICC intervention in the Darfur crimes.

Al-Nur stressed that the war in Darfur “is not tribal” adding that the government arming of militias triggered the conflict and the humanitarian situation.

He further said that reconciliation “occurs after peace process is concluded and through local mechanism not requiring international mechanisms”.

The UN says up to 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million fled their homes since ethnic minority rebels in the western region of Darfur first rose up against the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum in February 2003.

The Sudanese government disputes the death toll saying 10,000 people died.


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  • 2 November 2009 06:15, by Kur

    We were all aware of the intentions of the AU. The AU prefers to protect one evil man and leaves millions of innocent Darfuris in trauma. Hwover this evil plot against the women and children of Darfur will not work. Bashir will wooner or later be tried by the ICC for his intentions to wipe out the people of Darfur and settle Arab tribes in their places.


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  • 2 November 2009 06:22, by Otong

    NCP/NIF has rejected the recommendations of AU panel on Darfur war crimes, therefore AU should support the ICC if they are looking for justice and peace for the people of Darfur, as they stated. I hope AU is not trying to fine a way to protect war criminals of NIF.

    El bashir must be sent to ICC.

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    • 2 November 2009 06:31, by Biliu

      Thank you for telling us what we already know, AU was a cover to rescue Bashir from the international justice but Khartoum was so blind to notice and shamelessly refused their proposal.. Bashir should make him self ready to face ICC sooner or later.

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      • 2 November 2009 08:29, by Wende Yongaptheeth

        It is over, it was a public secret and remains so where is Oshay?

        Now that the rat is accidentally let out by former Egyptians foreign minister, and we know already that the AU Panel on Darfur was after all a cover up to impotent fat ass of Al Beshir, we cannot wait to see his infertile testicles hang like Saddam’s.

        God is great, Allah Akber, pure blooded African Muslims are being massacred by confused self-claimed arabs while they are islamized and arabized lost men and women from Nubia. These arab world prostitutes called Jellaba of Sudan who are massacring God’s people in Darfur must be brought to justice. The Whole World stands with the people of Darfur and this infertile or impotent who cannot produce a baby called AL Beshir will get his fat, impotence, infertile ugly ass hang like Saddam Hussein and his history is already ugly.

        Maher, we appreciate your honesty to confirm what we have known all along that your Panel was a cover up for Al Beshir.
        Now tell the impotent Al Beshir to quit and leave Sudan for Sudanese or else we will hang him like the Iraqis hang Saddam and the Italians hang Musolini and Hitler committed suicided in the center of Berlin. Beshir will hang at peace and freedom square in Khartoum whether he wants it or not.

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      • 2 November 2009 08:59, by Ajuscommando

        It’s very nice for AU to witness embarrassment from NCP since they were not working for the fact in Sudan. I think AU will allow ICC to dealing with Dafur case against the suspects who committed war crime and crime against humanity in Dafur. Sudan Bashir need only justice without argument and delay from International community.


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  • 2 November 2009 08:28, by Samson Shawel Ambaye

    God be with ICC and UNSC. I have a correction for Egyptian fake diplomat why he calls Bashirs African head of state?

    Mr. fake diplomat ......UN says up to 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million fled their homes since ethnic minority rebels in the western region of Darfur first rose up against the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum in February 2003.

    Mr. fake diplomat........Sudanese government disputes the death toll saying 10,000 people died.

    Government of Bashir acknowledged killing 10,000 people. Why Egyptian diplomat call him head of state? Bashir and his friends are head of crimes or head of criminal states.

    Except SA Ghana and Botswana most of Egyptians’ head of states are criminal false leaders they are not heads of states they are heads of crimes or head of criminal states for killing their own peoples.

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    • 2 November 2009 09:49, by Aduol Liet

      The ICC Judges.

      Take this consideration that, people who love to be bribes will not tell the trust and they will not stand with good law since their hearts are feeling up with too much corruption then, they will not knowing the right of innocents people deying in the Sudan.

      The solution in Sudan, U.N. and United State are they one who will force Omar al Bashir to accept the arrest but never hope these African leaders that, Omar al Bashir has purely million to them so that, they will denying the right of innocent people in the Sudan of Darfurian people.

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    • 2 November 2009 09:51, by DASODIKO

      Let African head of states save themselves first. The traitor Mbeki he was not able to save himself for just to finish his presidential terms, so how can he be able to save a professional gangster and killer Bashir who eliminated the all nation of Darfur in just five years time.
      Its a joke! people of Sudan will not stay idles , they way they came to power the same way they will be ousted from it.And for how long he will continue to hide himself in his rats holes. So let us wait and see.

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      • 2 November 2009 14:50, by okucu pa lotinokwan

        The former South Africa President. Mr Thabo Mbaki and AU members want to find away out for Sudan criminal president Omer Hassen Al Bashir from the arrest warrant of the ICC,my question to these members the killing of, over 500,000 Darfurans by single man Omer Al Bashir and his Allians is not paintful to the Africa Members or they even contributed in the killing, if not why do they not arrest this criminal man Omer Al Bashir.For instance he is not the first Africa leader to be arrested by the ICC to the Hague,so many criminal leaders from the Asians and African have undergone the ICC for example Bosnia,Rwanda,Liberia etc,etc ,Omer Bashir should go and face the ICC table no body should defend or support this Criminal president,what realy he did to the Darfurans citizen he deserved it now.

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