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ICC supporters urge Serbia to strip Sudan’s Bashir of presidential medal

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April 7, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The Coalition for the International Criminal Court (ICC) called on the Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic to reconsider his decision to give a medal to his Sudanese counterpart Omer al-Bashir who is wanted for war crimes in Darfur region since 2009.

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Sudan’s President Omer Hassan al-Bashir waits to welcome Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni at Khartoum Airport September 15, 2015 (REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

In a letter released on Tuesday the CICC, which compromises some 2,500 civil society groups from around the world, disclosed that last February Nikolic decorated Bashir with the Medal of the Republic of Serbia.

“I want to express my dismay with the honour you gave to the Sudanese President Omer Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, an ICC fugitive, who was honoured on the occasion of Serbia’s Statehood Day,” the convenor of the Coalition for an International Criminal Court, William Pace, wrote in a letter to Nikolic.

“We invite you to question the honouring of al-Bashir, because by this action you are humiliating not just the ICC, but also the honour of the Republic of Serbia,” Pace further said.

In a statement issued on its website the group, pointed that "as a member state of the Court is now bound to uphold the unequivocal commitments set out in the Rome Statute to bring to justice perpetrators of crimes that shock the conscience of humanity".

The state of Kosovo which is declared independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008, is recognized by the by more than 100 states including U.S. and EU countries. However it is contested by Serbia and Russia which is an ally of the sudanese government .

About 90 percent of Kosovo’s 2 million inhabitants are ethnic Albanians and Muslim.

However, the Serbian presidency rejected the demand
In an interview with Danas newspaper on Thursday, Nikolic’s adviser Ivan Mrkic said the decision to decorate Bashir “could not have been avoided”.

“We cannot skip Sudan because some people cannot stand Bashir,” he said.

forced to flee their homes, the United Nations says.

However, the Serbian presidency rejected CICC’s demand, saying they prioritize the national interest.

In statements to the Belgrade based newspaper Danas on Thursday, Presidential Adviser Ivan Mrkic said the decision to decorate Bashir “could not have been avoided”.

“We cannot skip Sudan because some people cannot stand Bashir,” the AFP reported.

(ST)

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