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Egypt, Ethiopia call to suspend ICC case against Sudan’s Bashir

June 8, 2017 (NEW YORK) - Egyptian and Ethiopian diplomats have called on the United Nations Security Council to suspend the investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir, who is charged with masterminding a campaign of genocide in Darfur.

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United Nations Security Council meeting which unanimously adopted resolution 2228 (2015) extending the mandate of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) June 29, 2015 (UN Photo)

In a report to the Security Council on the situation in Darfur on Thursday, the ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, urged the 15-member body to take concrete action that would help to arrest suspects of alleged genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur, including President Omer al-Bashir.

Commenting on her report, Egypt’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta, said the ICC proceedings against al-Bashir lust be suspended.

"The Court must be careful not to jeopardise peace and security on the African continent," he said.

Referring to South Africa, Aboulatta disagreed with any action taken against an African State under the pretext that the State had not complied with the Court because it had not arrested President Al-Bashir and handed him over to the Court.

In April 2017, at an unprecedented hearing at the ICC, the South African government denied flouting international law and broken its obligations to the Court when it refused in June 2015 to arrest President al-Bashir who attended an African Union meeting in Pretoria.

The African Union had called for the withdrawal of Darfur-related matters and had expressed concern that the Security Council had not responded to that request.

For his part, the Ethiopian Ambassador to the United Nations Tekeda Alemu cited the disappointment of African countries by the manner in which the Court had been operating.

Also, Alemu reiterated the African Union’s request for the Court to end its pursuit of a case against the Sudanese president and called to finding home-grown solutions.

He added that the African Union "was convinced that the referral of the situation in Darfur to the Court would cause more harm than good while seriously undermining ongoing efforts to resolve the conflict".

On the ongoing efforts to end the conflict in Darfur, he said peace process had shown significant progress, but more remained to be done.

"The Council should do its part, including by exerting pressure on armed movements to put an end to the suffering of the people of Darfur," he said and called on the rebel groups to lay down their arms.

(ST)