Darfur peace hopes damaged if Sudanese President is arrested, UN hears

26 September 2008

The decision of International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors to seek an arrest warrant for Sudan’s President over alleged war crimes in Darfur will only undermine existing efforts to bring peace to the region, the country’s Vice-President has told the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate.

The decision of International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors to seek an arrest warrant for Sudan’s President over alleged war crimes in Darfur will only undermine existing efforts to bring peace to the region, the country’s Vice-President has told the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate.

Ali Osman Mohamed Taha told delegates yesterday that the Sudanese Government in Khartoum had taken great strides to implementing the peace and reconciliation process in Darfur, an arid and impoverished region where rebels have fought Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen since 2003.

The commitment to this process has been guaranteed by President Omar al-Bashir himself, Mr. Taha said. Given that national elections are planned for next year, he added that the issuing of an indictment against Mr. al-Bashir would be detrimental to the peace process.

The Vice-President stressed that while his Government fully supported the accountability that the indictment was supposed to bring about, it was already implementing measures to achieve that accountability, and therefore the ICC prosecutor’s move was “corroding” the peace process.

Mr. Taha said the decision of Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the prosecutor, should be reversed by the Security Council, noting that many States have made public their objections to the indictment.

He also said that the Government was committed to improving humanitarian relief efforts across Darfur, where an estimated 300,000 people have been killed through direct combat, disease, malnutrition or reduced life expectancy, and another 2.7 million have been displaced.

In addition, the Vice-President said Khartoum was supporting the work of the hybrid UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known as UNAMID.

 

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