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Obama says no peace in Sudan without justice, urges cooperation with ICC

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July 14, 2010 (WASHINGTIN) — The U.S. president Barack Obama said today that peace in Sudan cannot be realized without justice while acknowledging the need to move carefully, a day after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir for orchestrating genocide in the Darfur region.

The genocide charge followed an arrest warrant issued by the Hague-based court against Bashir in March 2009 for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Darfur conflict. He is alleged to have targeted the African ethnic tribes of Fur, Zaghawa and Masaalit.

Khartoum has dismissed the latest arrest warrant, accusing the ICC of being part of a Western conspiracy trying to destabilize the country and stall development as well as peace talks with the rebels in Darfur. The Sudanese government says its position is supported by Arab, African and Islamic countries.

Bashir is the first sitting head of state indicted by the ICC.

Obama, when asked to comment on the recent move by ICC, said his administration supports accountability for crimes committed in Darfur.

"Well, my view is that the ICC has put forward an arrest warrant. We think that it is important for the government of Sudan to cooperate with the ICC. We think that it is also important that people are held accountable for the actions that took place in Darfur that resulted in, at minimum, hundreds of thousands of lives being lost" he said in an interview released today with South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

"[T]here has to be accountability, there has to be transparency," he added.

This is the first time Obama speaks on the ICC role in the Darfur seven years conflict. The former Bush’s administration allowed the UN Security Council (UNSC) to refer the case to the tribunal after relentless objections and threatening to veto for fear that it will signal a recognition of the court.

Washington withdrew its signature from the ICC’s founding treaty saying it is wary about exposing U.S. troops to possible politically motivated prosecution while fighting in unpopular wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Obama administration however, has started to cautiously re-engage with the court, which was set up in 2002 and has been ratified by 111 states, but not by the United States, Russia, China or India.

The U.S. president suggested that his administration is treading carefully to ensure that the political process in Sudan does not collapse.

"Obviously we are active in trying to make sure that Sudan is stabilized; that humanitarian aid continues to go in there; that efforts with respect to a referendum and the possibility of Southern Sudan gaining independence under the agreement that was brokered, that that moves forward" Obama said.

"So it is a balance that has to be struck. We want to move forward in a constructive fashion in Sudan, but we also think that there has to be accountability, and so we are fully supportive of the ICC" he added.

Obama stressed that "peace is at risk if there’s no transparency and accountability of the actions that are taking place, whether it’s in Sudan or anywhere else in the world".

The statements by Obama contradicts that of his special envoy Scott Gration who has expressed dissatisfaction with the genocide decision saying it will complicate his mission and emphasizing that the key to resolving the conflicts in the South and Darfur as well as combating terrorism lies with Bashir.

Both the State Department and White House issued statements urging Sudan to cooperate with the court and for Bashir to submit himself to the ICC.

Four U.S. based human rights advocacy organizations - the Enough Project at the Center for American Progress, Genocide Intervention Network, the Save Darfur Coalition, and the American Jewish World Service issued a joint statement on Monday lauding the genocide charge and calling on Obama to ensure his arrest through working with the international community.

But a Sudanese official today dismissed calls by the U.S. to cooperate with the ICC.

"The U.S. must hand its leaders to justice and if they were serious on achieving justice and protect civilians , we would have found such a clear position on what happened to the freedom flotilla in Gaza, and it is them who used veto to reject international investigation to achieve justice" said Sudanese presidential adviser Mustafa Ismail.

Ismail further said that "Africa and the countries of the world look at the ICC a Western institution established in the West and funded by the European Union and aimed at punishing the governments and leaders who are not moving with the Western axis and not owe them allegiance, and obedience".

(ST)

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  • 15 July 2010 07:22, by Wal P Muoranyar Biet

    Gration yesterday:

    "The decision by the ICC to accuse Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir of genocide will make my mission more difficult and challenging especially if we realize that resolving the crisis in Darfur and South, issues of oil and combating terrorism at a 100%, we need Bashir" Gration was quoted as saying by Arabic Language Washington based Radio Sawa.

    Obama today:

    "Well, my view is that the ICC has put forward an arrest warrant. We think that it is important for the government of Sudan to cooperate with the ICC. We think that it is also important that people are held accountable for the actions that took place in Darfur that resulted in, at minimum, hundreds of thousands of lives being lost" he said in an interview released today with South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

    "[T]here has to be accountability, there has to be transparency," he added.

    "Obviously we are active in trying to make sure that Sudan is stabilized; that humanitarian aid continues to go in there; that efforts with respect to a referendum and the possibility of Southern Sudan gaining independence under the agreement that was brokered, that that moves forward" Obama said.

    "So it is a balance that has to be struck. We want to move forward in a constructive fashion in Sudan, but we also think that there has to be accountability, and so we are fully supportive of the ICC" he added.

    Obama stressed that "peace is at risk if there’s no transparency and accountability of the actions that are taking place, whether it’s in Sudan or anywhere else in the world".

    Mr. Gration, read your president’s lips!!!

    Wal Peter Muoranyar

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    • 15 July 2010 11:37, by SPLA,corrup

      Man you have to know that this man was saving his ss. Can you stand in Khartoum and say Bashir have to go to the ICC? I think you may not finish your statement and your ss will be cut off my bro.....That is why he said that.....

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      • 15 July 2010 17:44, by Wal P Muoranyar Biet

        First of all, your name is wrong, SPLA is not corrup.

        ";Saving his ss"! Why are you justifying his words? He is not a child and you are not his attorney! He said it, and that what we go by.

        Wal Muoranyar

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      • 16 July 2010 07:39, by Lokorai

        President Hussien,

        Shut your mouth on the Sudanese affairs; if you want justice done, let is start from you first on attrocities you people committed against innocent Iragis and Somalis.

        If you serious, turn to your native country Kenya, let justice begin there, not in the Sudan.

        Sudan needs peace not justice; at least for now...

        Lokorai

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      • 23 November 2012 04:35, by gagogayaphir

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        Vancouver Junk Removal

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  • 15 July 2010 07:25, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

    Mustapha Ismail links the death of innocents in Darfur with flottila incident. What a shock!! This clearly indicates that all the killings of Africans in Sudan is payback to western world’s indifference in solving muslim’s problems. I wonder where he comes from. How can a high ranking government official say such a thing to a press? He is definitely accepting their guilt in the murder of children and mothers of Darfur.

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  • 15 July 2010 07:41, by Peter Nhiany

    I’m glad with President Obama’s statement regarding peace in Sudan. Mr. President, you are right there would be no real peace in Sudan without justice serve. People who drive the country in a vehicle with wrong gears should be held accountable for ther unacceptable ruling. The people of Sudan are extraordinary people who deserve peace, and love for one another. Sudan Bashir turn the country to be valley of blood. He must be justify for his action for the past two decades. Justice must previal, and Bashir must fall.

    Peter Nhiany.

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    • 15 July 2010 08:31, by Aduol Liet

      U.S. President Obama and his Secretary of Stats Hillery both have promising during the campaigning in 2008.

      I think it has been long time for U.S. President to make statement or responsinding since he was telling the world that, he will do everything he can to safe lives of Darfurian people and others Sudanese who suffering from Omar al Bashir government. I like the statement made by Secretary of Sates saying, if it is me I will set no fliy zone in Sudan unfortunately, both leaders have been elected most powerful in the world and that promised did not happen until we hear this statement lately today and Omar al Bashir have had refusing to accept his war crimes and crime against humanity he has committed in the Sudan.

      The real question to both U.S. President Obama and Secretary of States is that, where is the promised both of you made during the campaingning in 2008.? Another question is that, what block no fliy zone not to do so in Sudan while you are both in powerful positions.? I belief there will be question coming in 2012 to ask U.S. President on whether or not the no fliy zone on Sudan was done nor did that promised went successfulnow.

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    • 15 July 2010 09:33, by Sunday Jial

      Obama,

      In fact, justice is the best way of preventing the Scourge Earth Campaign; a method used by terrorist nations to achieve Islam,economical,cultural and political vision.

      Thanks,

      Sunday.

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  • 15 July 2010 08:31, by DASODIKO

    Now you are on the right tract President Obama. Justice is important for those killed, raped and their lands and properties given to the new settllers. The criminal Bashir now will not be able to celeberate the arrival of his west African Arab brothers; however; he will just stay in his rat ditch without sleep. I am happy that America has become NCP; Bashir said on a rally in Port Sudan . What a naivity! America fought for hundreds of year to preserve human dignity; how can you compare them with your dirty party established to create racism and kill the innocent civilians because of religion and race?

    Aha America who became NCP, now is going to arrest you to send you to ICC, not only you but all of your dirty memebership of your dirty party.

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  • 15 July 2010 09:03, by Awumtiai

    Mass killing in South Sudan and Darfur shouldn’t just go with no an accountability. No way!!!! Somebody somewhere must have orchestrated it. This makes Barrack message of today reasonable. Somebody must be held accountable. Barrack lenient to Bashir accusations all this time was suspicious to me. Now I drop my suspicion.

    Awumtiaidit.

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    • 15 July 2010 11:14, by Aparana

      Dear All,

      Let us not take things emotionally; Mr. Barak Obama is not the right person to say that. Let USA ratify the Rome statute first, then the ICC should investigate and try George W. Bush and Toney Bliar for killing more than three million Iraqi civilians after invading Iraq using false intelligence report from CIA. After doing all these, let them then talk about Sudan’s Bashir. I am not saying Bashir in innocent, but no more double standards if law is to prevail.

      This move by ICC is politically motivated, there is nothing legal in it, because;
      • China whose population is more than 1.5 billion is not a member
      • India with 1.2 billion is not.
      • Russia and the Caucasians with more than 500 million.
      • USA and some Latin American countries with more than 500 million are not.
      • All Arab countries with the exception of Jordan and Comoros Island are not.
      • Some African countries are not.
      • Some European countries including Turkey are not members also.

      If you consider the population of all ICC member countries, they are actually representing less than a fifth (1/5) of the total world population of about six billion.
      How come on earth that < 1/5 of world’s population is trying other world countries let alone the double standard practice.

      Based on the above findings the ICC has not any legal jurisdiction against any non ICC member.

      Rgds,

      Aparana.

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      • 15 July 2010 14:02, by Sudan virus

        Aparana,

        Soon Sudan will be invaded if you do not hand over Bashiir and the other genocide perpetrators to the ICC.

        Bush and Tony were rescuing the innocent Iraqi civilian from terrorist atrocities.

        How can you compare killing of indeginous African in favor of Arabs by Bashiir to IraQ invasion by Bush and Tony. The latter have no interest in taking over Iraq land as the case is with Bashiir.

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  • 15 July 2010 11:02, by Ayom

    What U.S President said is right, peace cannot be achieve in Sudan atll unless ICC arest Bashir now before the massive killing & mass destruction in Sudan for the forthcoming referendum in January 2011.

    by
    Ayom Ayom

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    • 15 July 2010 11:16, by Aparana

      Dear All,

      Let us not take things emotionally; Mr. Barak Obama is not the right person to say that. Let USA ratify the Rome statute first, then the ICC should investigate and try George W. Bush and Toney Bliar for killing more than three million Iraqi civilians after invading Iraq using false intelligence report from CIA. After doing all these, let them then talk about Sudan’s Bashir. I am not saying Bashir in innocent, but no more double standards if law is to prevail.

      This move by ICC is politically motivated, there is nothing legal in it, because;
      • China whose population is more than 1.5 billion is not a member
      • India with 1.2 billion is not.
      • Russia and the Caucasians with more than 500 million.
      • USA and some Latin American countries with more than 500 million are not.
      • All Arab countries with the exception of Jordan and Comoros Island are not.
      • Some African countries are not.
      • Some European countries including Turkey are not members also.

      If you consider the population of all ICC member countries, they are actually representing less than a fifth (1/5) of the total world population of about six billion.
      How come on earth that < 1/5 of world’s population is trying other world countries let alone the double standard practice.

      Based on the above findings the ICC has not any legal jurisdiction against any non ICC member.

      Rgds,

      Aparana.

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      • 15 July 2010 12:47, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

        Mr Aparana or Apure,

        Your statement is logical. However what happened in Darfur can not be condoned. Bashir deserves to answer for his Darfur killers. They did that under his oveall command.

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        • 15 July 2010 13:52, by Mr Famous Big_Logic_Boy

          Aparan, Apure, Jur likang, Atoto and whoever you call yourselves I agree with your opnions. Crminal Bashir deserve to end up behind the cell of ICC or hang like his fellow brother from Iraqi. Those of kumanaye will have their game to start. Time for every single brother and sister to be open with what we are under going at the moment.

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      • 15 July 2010 14:06, by Paul Ongee

        Aparana,

        It’s not about majority or telling us percentage of world population when it comes to delivering justice. Does it mean that Sudan which is not a member of the ICC has right to massacre its own people. The issue here is not about convicting AL-Bashir, it’s about the charges that require testifying and counter-provision of evidence or defense for what is not committed. Any country has no right to commit war crime. To Khartoum, western governments have no right to charge Islamic leader of war crime which is normal. Understand?

        Paul Ongee
        Khartoum, Sudan

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  • 15 July 2010 14:40, by kilo malual

    Mr president of U.s,

    u have shown the world today that u are fit to the post that u are holding and u should eliminate the wrong elements that try to make themselves stuming block to your discissions

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    • 15 July 2010 15:11, by Joseph

      Dear readers

      Mr President must Surrender himself to the ICC forthwith or otherwise his live will be on risk before referendum .

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  • 16 July 2010 07:55, by telfajbago

    It’s true that the NCP has succeeded to bribe some officials within President Obama’s administration such as Gration that is why the indicted fugitive president Bashir is making his empty bravados during his rallies. It’s good that President Obama came openly supporting justice for genocide survivors; nevertheless the U.S president has to stand tall to answer a lot of questions regarding the presidential pledges he made during his Presidential campaign and yet until now was not fulfilled. While the U.S administration and the world body is making a sensitive move to a void regime collapse in Sudan, but the hard reality is that, the only road to peace and stability in Sudan is through confronting the regime of Khartoum as I see it and soon or later the world body will realize this inescapable reality.

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  • 16 July 2010 17:13, by machiiiiiiiiiine

    Dear readers

    I am here very satisfy about Obama statement but the only problem now it because it is too late since 2008 without involve his single word about Sudan.As he start his promise we could support him but be active by not voting unity in Sudan.This president Omar Bashir is our real leader but the only thing that he always done wrong is about refused to attend all the meeting where by he was invited to join in.Let me tell you my dear readers that being brave at your house or country it does n,t show any quality of leadership to your citizens,second to that a person with that kind of brave it is no different with being coward of all,and that why we hear/being call by other tribe [ dhuk de tik ] and my tribe say[ kehe kwa mania muu ooo] and theirs results of those leaders is to die inside their house ,or being capture in their country by force.My dear brothers of wars i am here supporting him not to be in court but there will be ICC within they people of Sudan to let him join court [ICC] even if he don,t want or not and be active about hidden wars behind referendum and us and that is where by the there will be three choice/decision amongst they leaders, whether to run ,die or surrender to your/from enemies.

    by machiiiiiiiiiiine Gidaaaaaaaaam Yinaaaaaaaaak

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