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Britain & France will support freezing indictment of Sudan president

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September 13, 2008 (KHARTOUM) – The British and French government will back efforts in the UN to stall the issuance of an arrest warrant for Sudan president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, the Guardian reported today.

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International Criminal Court prosecutor and pursuer of Sudan’s Omar al-Beshir, Luis Moreno-Ocampo adresses the press on July 14, 2008 on evidence on crimes committed in Sudan’s Darfur region (AFP)

The newspaper said that officials from both capitals informed human rights activists that they have taken this stance to protect the peace process in Darfur and Southern Sudan.

The human right advocates said that Britain and France will join the Arab League, African Union, China, and Russia in backing a resolution by the UN General Assembly this month requesting a deferral of the charges against Al-Bashir.

Both UK & France are members of the Hague based court and have been the main advocates of referring the Darfur case to the ICC.

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Luis Moreno-Ocampo announced in mid-July that he requested an arrest warrant for Al-Bashir.

Ocampo filed 10 charges: three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder and accused Al-Bashir of masterminding a campaign to get rid of the African tribes in Darfur; Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa.

Following that the AU, Arab League, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) called for invoking Article 16 which allows the UN Security Council (UNSC) to suspend the ICC prosecutions in any case for a period of 12 months that can be renewed indefinitely.

Libya and South Africa sought to force a suspension in the UNAMID extension resolution last July but failed to get the required number of votes and instead accepted a watered down paragraph taking note of the AU concern on the ICC move to seek an arrest warrant for Al-Bashir.

Foreign Office Minister for Africa Mark Malloch speaking to the Guardian defended his government’s position.

“’It is precisely because we respect the ICC that we do not want to bargain away [its authority]. This is not about handing a defeat to the court in its early life. But Khartoum has interpreted the indictment against Bashir as a measure that pits Sudan against the Western world” Malloch said.

“A great deal is at stake; not just Darfur but the peace process in southern Sudan. We have to keep hold of the strategic intentions of the ICC, which we share - to end impunity and increase security in Darfur” he added.

But Steve Crawshaw of Human Rights Watch (HRW) rejected Malloch’s arguments.

“Justice is not a tradeable option. We have seen again and again that Sudan makes empty promises. To think that Sudan is likely to act in good faith is either naive or cynical” he said.

An ICC official speaking to the Guardian said that they would meet UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband and his French counterpart, Bernard Kouchner, to outline the ICC’s position on September 23rd.

It was not clear however if Paris or London intend to table down a formal resolution in the UNSC calling for a suspension or if they would just simply not use their veto power to block it.

Moreover the US position on the matter remains unclear. The Los Angeles Times said that Washington offered Khartoum not to stand in the way of a suspension in return for concession in terms of Darfur peace process and deployment of peacekeepers.

In July the US abstained from a resolution extending the mandate of the UN-African Union (AU) hybrid force in Darfur (UNAMID) because of a paragraph incorporated that spoke about the possibility of a suspension.

In explaining the abstention US Representative to the UN Alejandro Wolff said his government strongly supports UNAMID but that the “language added to the resolution would send the wrong signal to the Sudanese president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir and undermine efforts to bring him and others to justice”.

Wolff said that the paragraph which they objected to comes at a “very important time when we are trying to eliminate the climate of impunity to deal with justice and address crimes in Darfur by suggesting there is a way out”.

“There is no compromise on the issue of justice, the climate of impunity has gone on for too long and the United States felt it was time to stand up on this point of moral clarity that this permanent member of the UNSC will not compromise on the issue of justice” he stressed.

“The issue before us is to make clear to those who are guilty of criminal activity and complicit in the horrors that befallen on the people of Darfur that there can be no escape…anything that signals a way out or any easy way to circumvent that we believe need to be opposed” the US diplomat said.

He also said that the US “disagrees” with the AU request to block the ICC’s prosecutor request of an arrest warrant against Sudan president.

The issue of invoking Article 16 of Rome Statute comes at a very sensitive time for the Bush Administration in an elections year. It may be politically damaging for the Republican Party to allow such a resolution to pass in the UNSC.

Darfur advocacy groups including ‘Save Darfur’ coalition in the US have already started campaigning against any suspension.

Sudan has not ratified the Rome Statute, but the UNSC triggered the provisions under the Statute that enables it to refer situations in non-State parties to the world court if it deems that it is a threat to international peace and security.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

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  • 15 September 2008 02:04, by Kur

    The hopes of Sudanese people and the people of Darfur in particular for justice are now going to be washed away by the huricane Ike. So now Britian and France are going to bargain with justice by providing exit to a mass killer.What a naive approach! Hence he has now been given a recognition that he can kill more people and if somebody tries to stop him, he will threaten to block peace process so that he is accorded the status of innocent.

    kur

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    • 15 September 2008 06:56, by Moe Montana

      Damn right Mr. Kur, (if today was April fools day!)

      Omer al bashir is a legend. You have John Garang we have Omar (whom John made peace with later)! Also, the ICC is a joke, that seems to keep me in a hesterical state! I laugh at Mr. Ocampo, because as your all aware Argentina does make some Grade A Crack Cocaine and he is the perfect example of what a buzz it does!

      Allah Akbar (God is great be you Muslim or Christian), but ask yourself this, with all due honesty has the president not been the best president to date? Sudan economically was number 20 something when he took over now its number 3 (behind South Africa and Egypt) thus he MUST be doing something right! And to those whom are against the president you’re either against Sudan having a REAL (not puppet) leader. Or you (the "men") lack the testicular fortitude as you’re most likely living in Some far country away from Tribalism and Great people (your probably very insignificant and laugh at your own peoples misfortunes).

      But guess what, Sudan is MOVING MOUNTAINS, MOVING direction as well as the ICC indictment.

      Don’t you hate being on the wrong side?

      I don’t! Bashir all the way!!

      God bless all those for Sudan! And all those against Sudan: DO SOMETHING! MAKE MOVES! (I heard Britain and France are, i suggest you reconsider!) ;)

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      • 15 September 2008 08:57, by Moses Kur Akech

        I think, you missed to point out the main problem. You right to say Sudan has experienced a huge economic boom, but it did not come from innovative hard work of Bashir’s regime, it was simply a result of natural resource, oil. And a lot of this money has been used to wage civil wars.

        What Bashir had done so far to Arabs could be the waging of civil wars to defend monopolistic and dictatorial interest of minority group.

        Bashir has failed to adopt a non-violent conflict resolution. Never expect peace and stability in a country in an absence of a free and non-intimedatory political environment. A lot of our problems can be solved very easily should Bashir’s regime put force aside and adopt inclusive measures. Bashir has been running a politics of intimedation, for instance fellow muslims like Turabi and many more have been repeatedly tortured for nothing than just being opponents with Bashir. Simply things which can pave way for democracy are being censored by regime, for instance freedom of press is not in prevelance in Khartoum simply because of rampant abuse of human rights.

        It is extremely irrational, primitive and amateur to say Sudan is going on well under Bashir while it is curently in the brink of major breakdown as a result of reckless, callous, inhuman, arrogant and delibrate act of the regime. Bashir has failed to bring equality of all Sudanese for enacting cruel and discriminatory bureaucracies which do not in anyway reflect democratic values. Bashir has never adapted inclusive measures with other political parties.

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        • 15 September 2008 09:58, by Chier Akueny

          Bravo International communities for the good work of supporting the ICC to accelarate warrant arrest of tyrant president of Sudan who has been instablizing Sudan for too long in the story of the war. I hope once Al Bashir goes, it will be the time for the stability of Sudan as whole.

          Citizen/civilians of Sudan need nothing more than peace and democratic governance accross the country since Bashir is a man of genocide as well as he is a man of brutality.

          Bashir has failed in many ways because he has not signed the peace deal of Darfur and also leading unimplemented peace of between South and the North. He is don’t care man and so people should be ruled by corrupted and failed president.

          Bashir knows only war and he doesn’t know how he can convince people to accept him literally rather than forcing civilians to accept what he is wishing to do.

          Please, we just pray so that the ICC takes him for an arrest so that Sudan may remain in peace and stability for ever.

          Thanks
          By:Chier Akueny Anyithiec,
          From Aweil

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      • 15 September 2008 10:39, by Samuel Lwal

        It sound so stupid to back al Basher,i think Britain and France are out of their actual position which was known to them by the world or they are backing him for their selfish gain.How could wel-developed and democratic Nations support such a damn shit dictator/murderer.

        There are also blind and visionness Arab like Montana who do support al Basher calling him a Legend without knowing the crimes committed by him,HE.Ocampo file 10 charges,3 of genecide,5 of crimes against humanity and 2 of murder,the worse to mention:Basher masterminded the killing of the three African tribes in Drafur,Fur,Masalit and Zaghwa.Basher desrve to be hang like his fellow Arab SADDAM HUSSIEN of Iraq.
        HOW CAN MERE TRADER WHO CAME TO SUDAN MAINLY FOR BUSINESS TURN TO BE DOMINANT OVER THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF THE SOIL.

        Oh my dear Africans if you could hear my calls heartly,let stand up and let the visitors park and go back to MIDDLE EAST OR WHATEVER THEY CALL IT.I call upon SOUTHERN,WESTERN,EASTERN and CENTRAL Sudanese to unite and fight the Minority MUSLIM ARABS.

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  • 15 September 2008 11:08, by Yaak Barach

    Montana!!!! what a foolish use of words calling Bashir a legend! Bashir is a criminal, thief, murderer, selfish... so the list goes on!! Do you know the number of Sudanese that this cruel man exterminated? It’s so sad that many arabised sudanese don’t see the misdeed of this idiot.

    Currently his infamous SAF is murdering civilians in Darfur yet they are calling him a legend. Do you think that the economic reforms carried out by Bashir matters to those dying thousands in Darfur and those millions who perished in the south under his watch? You must be insane to think so. The day will come when the true owners of this land will run the affairs of this country! Shame on you who support this thug ( Omar al Bashir).

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    • 15 September 2008 13:26, by Moe Montana

      EVERYONE PLEASE ENOUGH WITH THE BULLSH*T! TAKE A SEAT CLASS IS NOW IN SESSION!

      Don’t call the President a killer of the Southerners, did SPLA/M and John Garang not also kill millions>?

      Or was John Garang better as he died earlier? Listen comprehend that killing is wrong, but if your killing rebels whom otherwise would be killing civilians THEN WATCH THEM BURN!

      As for DEMOCRACY and lack of FREEDOM of PRESS!!
      Have you heard of the 1953 Iranian coup d’état deposed the government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq and his cabinet. It was effected by Gen. Fazlollah Zahedi, SIS, and CIA agents working with civilians and army officers. The attempt to encourage a coup d’état, Operation Ajax required CIA man Kermit Roosevelt, Jr.’s bribing government officials, the news media, and businessmen, to allow imposing retired Gen. Fazlollah Zahedi and Imperial Guard Col. Nematollah Nassiri as the government.

      Reasons given for why the coup occurred include significant domestic dissatisfaction with the Mossadegh government (especially within the Iranian military) and a CIA propaganda campaign. Motivations given for the foreign coup planners include desire to control Iranian oil fields and more benign concerns over Iran’s coming under the control of the Soviet bloc of Iran’s traditional enemy Russia.

      SO HISTORY IS REPEATING ITSELF.. ONLY WE AIN’T IRAN, AND AMERICA AIN’T BUT AN INSIGNIFICANT OVER SIZED SPEC OF DUST TO US!

      BASHIR is such a legend that the word "legend" is HONORED when mentioned with him!

      Truth hurts! The hypocrisy in western democracy is that they DON’T CARE, its a FACADE! They care about their hides (backs) and no ONE else! Not Dar fur, not Congo, not Palestine, not Eritrea not Harlem (New York City) or Compton (LA) or even Louisiana Home of Hurricane Katrina(our black brothers and sister there). Noticed a pattern?

      In addition to the retarded comment, NORTH SUDAN is ours historically! We are NUBIANS its been our land since Adam and eve! Us mixing with arabs has been due to a peace deal back in the day! We are mixed race, half African half Arab that does not mean we neglect one culture for another in fact we should EMBRACE both of them!

      In conclusion, WAKE UP. Cause your all in a comatose state! And those whom don’t want to understand what i said then u are not Sudanese and back up!

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  • 15 September 2008 16:52, by John Deng

    Oh my friends... we confuse real lifes with political gestures. The blood of our brothers, sisters, mothers fathers, sons and daughters has drenched the soil of Sudan for 50 years and longer.

    Surely the most important thing is that we stop fighting and keep our peace. Justice can wait - if necessary for 10 more years... Bashir will never escape now, but why now - just when we face the greatest tests of our election and referendum? We want peace and democracy now, even if it means waiting for justice. But we know these guys... if they are cornered by ICC they will fight and that usually means a lot of people gonna die.

    Checking this story out in London, it seems it is total untrue. The UK doesn’t even know what it wants and its politicians are scared of taking a decision because they afraid of the BBC or newspapers attacking them. So they don’t care if the CPA collapses, elections stop and the hunger in Darfur camps explodes - they just don’t want to have to do anything that they might get criticised about.

    So my friends, I believe UK should be criticised and very harshly - but not for what is written here, but for failing to put Sudan’s peace and democracy first. They should be going hard for a 12 month delay, they should be put pressure on Bashir and help Darfur. But it looks like they don’t care enough to help Sudan.

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