Home | News    Wednesday 3 December 2008

ANALYSIS: ICC arrest warrant for Sudan president likely to be issued secretly


By Wasil Ali

December 2, 2008 (WASHINGTON) — A long awaited decision by the judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the indictment of Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir is likely to remain confidential until precautions are taken to ensure safety of UN staff and aid operations in Sudan.

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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 ICC prosecutor Luis-Moreno Ocampo warned in a speech at the Council for Foreign Relations Symposium last October that the international community must be prepared for the issuance of an arrest warrant.

"The Judges will decide on the arrest warrant sooner or later and States should adjust to this simple fact sooner than later. We are not going away; the call for justice is not going away; the arrest warrant, if issued, will not go away. States and multilateral organizations have to plan for a post arrest warrant situation" Ocampo said.

Two weeks before the ICC prosecutor presented his case requesting an arrest warrant for Al-Bashir, he informed the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon of his plans prompting heightened security measures by the UN missions throughout the Sudan.

On July 11th the Washington Post officially broke the news that Al-Bashir will be charged by the prosecutor after intense speculations on the identity of the new suspect(s) in the ICC’s second case on Darfur. It was UN officials who leaked what Ocampo has told them.

At that point in time the ICC prosecutor had control over when the names of suspects could be released after considering all relevant factors relating to security of witnesses as well as the impact of possible retaliatory actions by Khartoum on humanitarian and peacekeeping efforts in Darfur.

Despite stepped up harassment by Sudanese authorities to aid workers the situation in Darfur has largely remained stable following the indictment of Al-Bashir. There was no wide scale retaliation by Khartoum of the magnitude expected by most observers.

The next stage is the post-warrant phase if the judges go ahead and endorse the 10 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes against Al-Bashir. The arrest warrant then becomes a reality for Khartoum and thus poses more likelihood of retaliation.

After a case is presented to the ICC judges by the prosecutor, it is up to them to review the evidence and issue a decision accordingly. Generally speaking any ruling by the ICC judges on an arrest warrant is to be made public unless the prosecutor specifically requests that it remains under seal.

A sealed decision on an arrest warrant serves two purposes; enhancing chances of apprehending suspects since they are not aware that their arrest is being sought or to take certain measures in the areas where the case is being investigated to protect witnesses and victims alike.

In the ICC case of Uganda against leaders of Lord Resistance Army (LRA) the prosecutor requested that the arrest warrants remain under seal saying that their immediate disclosure could “subject vulnerable groups in Uganda to the risk of retaliatory attacks by the LRA and undermine continuing investigative efforts”.

It was only three months later that the prosecutor asked that the judges to issue an order unsealing the warrants for the five LRA leaders saying that this step would become a “feasible and powerful means of garnering international attention and support for arrest efforts, thus further ensuring the protection of victims, potential witnesses and their families”.

In the case of the Central African Republic (CAR), the arrest warrant was only unsealed after the suspect Jean-Pierre Bemba, former Congolese Vice president, was taken into custody by Belgian authorities and transferred to The Hague.

In both cases however, the applications submitted by the prosecutor were not made public and no one was aware of their existence or their content.

But in Al-Bashir’s case the approach by the ICC prosecutor was different which he justified by saying that his office determined that indicting a sitting head of state carries inevitable political implications and a public discussion is needed on the issue.

Furthermore the investigations on the Darfur case took place outside Sudan and thus all his witnesses reside in safe locations. The biggest issue at stake is retaliation by Khartoum against Darfur civilian population, aid agencies and UN staff. An abrupt decision by the ICC judges could put all those at immediate risk.

Sudanese officials have given ample threats since July on an upcoming “tsunami” in the region if the arrest warrant is issued as the justice minister strongly put it. This included expelling Darfur peacekeepers, aid agencies, withdrawing from UN. Some even have suggested that Darfur may become a safe haven for terrorist groups as a result.

At the conclusion of the heavily redacted public application against the Sudanese president released in September, the ICC prosecutor made four requests of the judges including “entering a finding that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Al-Bashir committed the crimes charged in this application” and issuing an arrest warrant.

However the prosecutor’s office withheld the other two requests he made to the judges of Pre-Trial Chamber I which could imply that sealing the decision was one of them.

Technically, a decision by the ICC judges could have already been issued. The last public activity on the case was submission of additional information to the Judges on November 17th by the prosecutor.

This also means that the Sudanese president risks being apprehended if he travels abroad even if the arrest warrant is issued under seal.


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  • 3 December 2008 08:39, by Mr Famous Big_Logic_Boy

    Must not be called Sudan president, because a beautiful country like sudan does not fit a killer and monster.HE is arab and terrorist president. It is Ocampo business with his property al bashir, whether secretly or legally it is his own job not to be take as a big deal since al bashir is nothing to the lives of durfurians and Southerners. We will shot the ordinary arabs and terrorist in particular while Americans will hung the leaders one by one like chickens. Funny to see china encouraging untiy with money.

    repondre message

    • 3 December 2008 09:45, by Trueson of Southerner is Back

      Dear Big Logic.

      This is the only comment you have post while you are consious compare to more and more of your silly and childish behaviour ful of hatred and tribalism.
      thank you very logic.

      repondre message

    • 3 December 2008 10:30, by tayeb M. Alhassan

      It seems to be that Logic writes under the influence of “Knomorow” or Sorghum wine. We know he resembles less than 000000000% to millions of wise anti Albasheer policy who know exactly what to say without least intent to agitate or offense Albasheer clans. We were brought up in contra political environments where is no threat to exterminate political rivals as Mr. Logic vows to do. Sometimes salience serves attractive unity better than venomous worlds.

      Mr. Logic stop reading from Rowanda Books !!!

      repondre message

      • 3 December 2008 11:48, by Mr Famous Big_Logic_Boy

        The paragraph of arabs will begin from Abeyi and the pullstop will end in wadi halfa and port sudan. Don’t tell me anything about Rwanda, second Rwanda had already been practiced in Durfur by those militias of killer al bashir. Remember that a single smell of an onion in a full sack of onions will always lead to a massive destruction of the whole sack and this is how al bashir has done to African people while saving his own fake terrorist.

        Life is a game, you can act but your turn will come at any time whether your ready or not. If you have been brought up from a civilised country, why don’t your behave yourselves, what is the prove of this claim of being as friendly people, if your arabs islamic have been terrorising several countries like USA, Morrocco, Bali, Somali, Bangkok, India, Nigeria, Kenya,Juba in SS and many more just to mention few. You always believe in money as a key for every action. Sometimes buying other people to carry terrorism. There is no peace or unity in any country where Arabs and islamic in particular are living with African people or Christaians. Sharing a government or country with those two objects arabs and islamic, is just like a lion with a goat and this is how a lion deserve to hurt the goat always. Anyway, It is not my job to judge, but probably the masters (USA) of tryants will apply their skills to deal with the two objects of terrorism and shria law group of comrade.

        repondre message

        • 3 December 2008 12:32, by tayeb M. Alhassan

          Hi guys everywhere!!!

          Please, anyone of you if has a big cork fits maniac Logic’s mouth keep it shut, please, give it to him now.

          repondre message

          • 3 December 2008 13:22, by Mr Famous Big_Logic_Boy

            Am not an insane as you have suggested, and the cork your talking about would fit your ass the engine of hidding bombs. If you would like me to watch silently, you should first put the cork on your underneath bomb hole, and distance yourselves from fake shria law which is now been practice badly in Nigeria.

            repondre message

    • 4 December 2008 02:47, by Sihs

      you always write when you are intoxicated , or may be u just have an empty skull with a retarded stone age brain between your very small ears.
      grow up please.

      repondre message

  • 3 December 2008 08:44, by Freedom Fighter

    I think either one would work. However, pubicly arrest warrant against Albashir would be the best one than the secret arrest warrant. It will be heard in the entire black continent, and its impact will go down deeply for the interest of humanity and freedom for powerless african people for generation to come not only in the Sudan but also, in the whole African continent.

    repondre message

  • 3 December 2008 09:10, by Dinka Bush

    Hello readers, the intention of ICC to issue an arrest warrant for Al Bashir secretly means a lot to the Sudanese and neighboring countries as well. For Arabs, they say that it is a dream but for the rest of the world, Al Bashir is being considered a MOVING GRAVE. You see what happened to Saddam Hussein and the rest that I will not mention.

    The world should not give back the ICC intention of indictment because Al Bashir is not the only one deciding for Sudanese, Khartoum and Juba are two parties which are involved in the state political and economic sovereignty.

    Arrest Al Bashir so that the route cause of suffering in Darfur is abolished.....
    BRAVOO Ocempo

    repondre message

    • 4 December 2008 00:22, by John Chol

      Dear Readers,

      Before we open our mouths and sing against President Omar Al Bashir, let us put one thing in mind, American will soon finish African leaders one by one indirectly. If we visualize what had rhappened in Zimbabwe, it root caused was America’s politics, they don’t like President Robert Mugabe because he has a visions for African’s unity. The same story is true about our beloved hero, Dr. John Garang.When he signed a oil deal with China, American were not happy
      and that case followed his death in 30th July 2005.

      To continue, let us consider the case of three bulls, (white, black and red) their unity was so strong in the forest that nothing could really tempted them. But one day,a intelligent lion said to the red and black, " I see you at night because of white bull, if you allow me eat the white, I will never see you at night again" the next day, he contacted the the black bull and said, " your colour is the most hidden and suitable one for night if you allow me eat the red I will not see you" lastly the intelligent lion ate the black bull and he had finished all of them.

      Oh dear brothers and sisters, American are intelligent lion.They are very greedy and they want to own everythings around the whole world.They want to arrest or hung Omar al Bashir and after that, they will also find a way to get rid off China in Sudan. The (ICC)are Amreican and their secret target in Sudan is oil not Bashir.Inorder to reach that goal, why would they allow Omar Bashir to continue when he has interest in China?

      If you only keep saying that ’ arrest president Bashir or hung him, what about you?’ you will rule this country tomorrow and American will use the the same measures to arrest or hung you up.Though he is a killer,We must first of all defend him because of the fact that he is the over
      all president of the republic of Sudan. Otherwise I strongly agree with the International criminal court(ICC) to arrest him. Bashir is a terrorist but American are the greatest of all.

      John Chol Dau

      View online : President bashir is a terrorist but American are the leading terrorists of all !

      repondre message

      • 5 December 2008 10:39, by Peter Aarai

        To: John Chol

        Dear Chol thanks u very much, for the constructive and meaningful comment, it really make sense what u have mention that American will soon finished all African leaders, like Robert Mugabe, Late Dr John Garang. when I really thinks about all these it mean American are only interesting in minerals resources and raw material in African which mean keep African countries down and be poorest for every. but people who think that American are helping them are lost and need to find their way out. thirsty oil producer like China, India, Malaysia are not in American interest to produce oil in Sudan because they are American competitors in market in terms of production.China will be a biggest loser if Khartoum gov are being topple down because China is Sudan buyer and arms suppler to Khartoum gov.well I don’t mind that if Khartoum gov are toppled down, but let’s think about Rwanda in 1994,how come American didn’t involved in campaign of that death of Rwanda civilian, because Rwanda have no oil.

        repondre message

  • 3 December 2008 10:53, by ARAMANACAANI Junuba

    Dear ICC jUDGES,

    The FEAR of the ’Aftermath of the ALbashir’s arrest warrant issuance’ is something that only exists in minds but may not reflect the realty of the practical aspect. what fear is there if we have SPLA-Conventional army,Darfur patriots of JEM,SLM BEJA and PEACEKEEPERS FORCES in sudan combined Against AL BASHIR’S SAF.plus international backing,Civilian support and their assistance. IS there anything here?
    justice should be applied immediately
    to at least give some psychological healing of the victims rather than later when it will bear ’No SATISFACTION’ to the VICTIMS.it will be counted as ’tale justice’ not freshening.


    repondre message

  • 3 December 2008 13:23, by wannawilla S M

    Hello all.

    One is always wondering when reading your insulting comments which are negatively contributive. Please, if you call yourselves readers, i beg, just behave like a reader and avoid insulting articles or comments. Otherwise, Nobody is going to benefit from from you. BIG SHAME no LOGIC

    repondre message

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