Home | News    Thursday 21 February 2013

Egypt will join ICC but ensure that Sudan’s Bashir is safe from arrest: official

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February 20, 2013 (WASHINGTON) – Egypt intends to soon ratify the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and utilise a loophole that allows it to avoid apprehending Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir, an official said.

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Egyptian justice minister Ahmed Mekki

Bashir is the first sitting head of state to be charged by the Hague-based court since its inception in 2002 on ten counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide allegedly committed in Sudan’s western region of Darfur.

He has avoided the risk of arrest to date mostly by travelling to non-ICC members though four African state parties allowed him to visit without taking him into custody.

Egypt, a frequent stop for Bashir in his travels abroad since the warrants, said that it will move ahead with ratification of the Rome statute.

Cairo signed the Rome Statute in 2000 but has yet to ratify it, a process which requires parliamentary review.

The Egyptian justice minister, Ahmed Mekki, made the disclosure on Tuesday at a workshop held at his ministry on International humanitarian law.

"Egypt will soon join the International Criminal Court treaty after reaching a solution to the most important obstacle preventing it from joining," Mekki was quoted as saying by the Turkey-based Anadolu news agency.

The justice minister asserted that his country "could sign a bilateral agreement with Sudan to overcome this obstacle for the sake of joining the court to put Egypt among the countries that respect human rights".

Mekki is referring to Article 98 of the Rome Statute which states that "the court may not proceed with a request for surrender or assistance which would require the requested State to act inconsistently with its obligations under international law with respect to the State or diplomatic immunity of a person or property of a third State, unless the Court can first obtain the cooperation of that third State for the waiver of the immunity".

The United States is the only country so far to have resorted to this controversial method and signed bilateral immunity agreements with over 100 states to avoid the possibility of dragging its troops to the court while being deployed abroad.

However, it remains to be seen whether Sudan will even agree to such an arrangement which could be interpreted as a recognition on its part of the court’s jurisdiction.

Sudan argues that it is not bound by the ICC orders despite a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution in March 2005 referring the Darfur situation to the court under a Chapter VII resolution because the country is not a state party.

This clause in the treaty is also subject to different interpretations and some legal experts say that it is up to the ICC judges to rule on whether an immunity agreement is a good enough reason to avoid surrendering a suspect.

In a ruling issued in late 2011 over Malawi’s refusal to arrest Bashir, the judges said that "to interpret article 98(1) in such a way so as to justify not surrendering Omar Al Bashir on immunity grounds would disable the Court and international criminal justice in ways completely contrary to the purpose of the Statute Malawi has ratified”.

If Egypt moves ahead with ratification, it would make it the fourth Arab state to join the court. Tunisia was the last Arab nation to accede to the Rome Statute in 2011.

Both Egypt and Tunisia witnessed a revolution in 2011 that toppled regimes which ruled with an iron fist for decades.

Officials in the two countries vowed to ratify a number of international humanitarian treaties to demonstrate their commitments to the rule of law.

Sudanese officials have privately expressed concern over Egypt’s intention to join the court, first announced by Egypt’s former foreign minister Nabil Elaraby in April 2011, which they see as a blow to their efforts to undermine the ICC in Africa and the Arab world.

The former Sudanese justice minister Abdel-Basit Sabdarat echoed the sentiment telling a visiting Egyptian delegation consisting of political leaders in May 2011 that Cairo should review its decision on joining the ICC.

"I blame the Egyptian foreign ministry for their decision to ratify the [Rome] treaty which was rejected by the Arab League besides ignoring the feelings of the brotherly Sudanese people which the court is working to threaten their security," Sabdarat said.

"Did Egypt solve all its internal and external problems to worry in the present time about joining the ICC?" he added.

Sabdarat further said that Sudanese people felt "stabbed in the back" when Egyptian officials met with ex-ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo during his visits to Cairo at the time. He said that Egyptian diplomacy should act with more "awareness" when dealing with Sudanese issues.

Egypt considers Sudan a strategic backyard, particularly as it struggles to prevent African Nile basin countries from amending colonial treaties giving it the lion’s share of the Nile’s waters. So far Sudan has sided with Egypt in this dispute.

The United Nations has said as many as 300,000 people died in the Darfur conflict. Khartoum puts the death toll at 10,000.

Besides Bashir, his defense minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein, South Kordofan governor Ahmed Haroun and militia leader Ali Kushayb are also wanted by the court.

(ST)

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  • 21 February 2013 08:35, by Turism

    Bashir will not be free from Icc arest since what he did something against humanity he has to be fuck accordingly.

    repondre message

    • 21 February 2013 18:11, by padiit gaga

      Whether this Criminal country joined the ICC the will still face the their deed. Omar has done something which is against law , he has killed innocents civilians. He is qualify to hang on the tree.

      repondre message

  • 21 February 2013 08:44, by Jalaby

    I’m really shocked by this weak government in Egypt and very disappointed by this prime minister Morsy, he proved himself as a failure and weak prime minister and he and his Muslim Brothers party seem unable to provide any solution to the serious situation in Egypt now!
    Egypt is under great chaos now!

    repondre message

    • 21 February 2013 09:28, by jwok

      JALABY FROM JALABIA
      I am really shocked like you, why are you taking about government of Egypt failure?
      Did you forget you NCP failure to control the situation in BN, NK and Darfur
      Did you forget your internal problems?
      You’re Very funny

      repondre message

    • 21 February 2013 13:14, by Nuer Empire

      Lol,mr gay!! Get how painful it is.You are surrounded by your enemies and Israel will come by air and drop them(bombs)in your hell.You are in Soddom(Khartoum).
      The Nuer Empire

      repondre message

    • 21 February 2013 13:24, by Makunon

      The word shock you use here, you should have use it in an article talking about your defeats and lot of military equipment captured. go and make comment there and use your word "shock" rather than stress that you want to hide here.

      repondre message

    • 21 February 2013 17:53, by Afasafasa Adonge Detto

      Jalabi,
      You are jumping here and there, I think you are the real Terrorist. Why don’t you first look back and see what is in happening in our country. SRF are now heading to Khartoum.

      repondre message

      • 22 February 2013 04:23, by Afasafasa Adonge Detto

        Sorry correction I meant you country.

        repondre message

    • 21 February 2013 19:13, by Observer

      Jalaby,
      Go back through the archives here on the ST and see your comments about Egypt, and when Morsi was elected.
      You were so gushing and excited about his election and how great it was going to be for Sudan.
      Just another mistake of judgement from you along with all the many and many others.

      repondre message

    • 21 February 2013 20:10, by aguotwany@live.com

      Jalaby and your asshole Egypt, will suffer on eastern African hands. Yes but they are not stupids , what they and you committed against Black Africas of Sudan will ever find you no matter where you go. The government of Egypt will be hold accountable to the crimes it committed against South, Sudanese and it’s allies 1n 2007 at the United Nation compound. Jalaba, God never forget and shit for you

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      • 21 February 2013 20:15, by aguotwany@live.com

        It does not matter whether Egypt choose to be a member of the Roman Statues still Bashir will pay his ultimate price under the court of law in Hague and possible in the Republic of South, Sudan place where he has committed more than 5.2 million lives. We have the prove to tell the world court and with enough evidence to put Bashir behind bar for good and mostly death sentence. Wait and will see.

        repondre message

  • 21 February 2013 08:47, by Tong dut

    Genocide is still in south sudan by the toll arabs of south sudan.Both of them should be taken to ICC.

    repondre message

    • 21 February 2013 09:08, by william mawien

      @tong dut
      which genocide are you talking about?

      repondre message

      • 21 February 2013 09:22, by Junta

        Tong Dut
        what you have mention is an exergerations! what we are facing are deeply ingrained tribal motivated hatred and subjugation of Minority communities by dominant trigger happy un-civilised leaders of Jenge dominated South Sudan regime! However, this can be addressed amicably by we South Sudanese. Please Tong don’t give Harrami Jalabi an excuse to insult SS here by your comments!

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      • 21 February 2013 10:18, by Tong dut

        @ William,
        Death to you by Murlei or Dinka.
        You are very happy with what you are doing at jonglei and lakes state,is it not tribul killing? Umak ya kalib.

        repondre message

        • 21 February 2013 10:55, by william mawien

          @tong dut
          iam not from jonglei or lakes but from great nothern barh el ghazel the most civilised people in south sudan
          do not even connect my name to those cattle raiding states

          repondre message

          • 21 February 2013 12:47, by Tong dut

            @William Mawien.
            Since you are a Dinka,no diffirence from cattle raiders.what happened in Wau was Diinkas, in manvolo just dinkas, in yei, dinkas.
            I will not trust a dinka, even the dead one is still a killer.

            repondre message

  • 21 February 2013 09:25, by bolingo

    @Jalaby that is none of your busness just shut your darty mouth.

    repondre message

    • 21 February 2013 09:37, by Robot

      Fake Arabs,
      Egypt lost hope on you when mighty South Sudan defeated you and you are now shamelessly trying to reverse the irreversible!!!, they consider you bunch of losers because there is nothing to prevent the use of the Nile water whether there was an MOU on sharing of the water or not. so tell me how Egypt is gonna be your friend again??, STOP SUPPORTING TEHRAN, TERRORISM, PALESTINE.

      repondre message

  • 21 February 2013 09:25, by Makunon

    Egypt stay in or out ICC, Bashir must be executed in Hague. The countdown must come to zero clock. whether Egypt understood ICC more or less it meaning one, (stop crimes against humanity)

    repondre message

  • 21 February 2013 11:45, by kamal

    What a wish prim minister is ahamad mors iam glad with my dear

    repondre message

  • 21 February 2013 15:29, by whatsayyou

    Blood of darfurians who perish in the hand of Bashir will not leave him free. He must be taken to court. If he know that he is free why he don’t go to Hague?

    repondre message

  • 22 February 2013 05:08, by 4Justice
  • 22 February 2013 06:18, by 4Justice

    "I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction." Barack Hussein Obama, Audacity of Hope page 261

    repondre message

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