Peacekeeping policy and the repercussions of a possible indictment of the Sudanese President by the International Criminal Court (ICC) are among top concerns of the Security Council this month, according to the Charge d’affaires of Libya, the body’s March president.
There is nothing scheduled by the Council as an immediate reaction to tomorrow’s expected decision on an indictment of President Omar Al-Bashir for war crimes in violence-torn Darfur, Ibrahim Dabbashi said.
However, he added, there were ongoing consultations with Council Members on a possible decision under article 16 of the Rome Statute that set up the ICC, which could defer investigations connected with an indictment for 12 months.
“We hope the situation will not deteriorate in Sudan. We feel it is very important that the Security Council look into this matter in light of the decisions taken by the Regional Organizations, especially the African Union and the League of Arab States,” he said.
There was as yet no consensus on the matter, he said, and the Council would continue its consultations and closely watch the situation on the ground in the meantime, he added.
An estimated 300,000 people have died, either through direct combat or because of disease, malnutrition or reduced life expectancy over the past five years in Darfur, where rebels have been fighting Government forces and allied Arab militias.
Yesterday, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Alan Le Roy, said that the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) would continue to perform its duties to protect civilians no matter what decision the ICC takes.
Also unrelated to the decision, a briefing by the Council Committee that oversees an arms embargo and related sanctions in Sudan is scheduled for 10 March.
In regard to peacekeeping policy, Mr. Dabbashi said that on 18 March an open debate is planned on the report of the AU-UN Panel on joint peacekeeping operations, chaired by Libya’s Minister for African Affairs.
A retreat on peacekeeping for Council Members will take place from the 20th to the 23rd of the month, and a Council mission to Haiti is planned for 11-14 March.
A debate is also scheduled on piracy and the peace process in Somalia on 20 March as a follow-up to the two resolutions on the subject that were adopted by the Council in December 2008.
In addition to the regular monthly briefing on the Middle East, discussions and actions are also slotted on the UN missions in Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), Kosovo (UNMIK), Afghanistan (UNAMA) and elsewhere, Mr. Dabbashi said.