Criminal Investigations against Sudanese President, Omar Al-Bashir, by the International Criminal Court (ICC) should be suspended, Egyptian and Ethiopian diplomats have told the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
Speaking in response to a report to the Security Council on the situation in Darfur yesterday presented by Fatou Bensouda, the ICC prosecutor, the Egyptian Ambassador and Permanent representative to the United Nations, Amr Abdellatif Abdoulatta, said the ICC’s proceedings endanger regional peace and must be stopped.
“The court must be careful not to jeopardise peace and security on the African continent,” he said.
The Ethiopian Ambassador to the United Nations, Tekeda Alemu, expressed disappointment that the ICC had continue to pursue the case against Al-Bashir and referred to the request by the African Union (AU) that the court should allow Sudan to find a “home-grown” solution to the problems in Darfur.
The AU is 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,
Alemu said the ongoing efforts to end the conflict in Darfur had shown significant progress but there remained much still to be done. He called upon the UNSC to urge rebel groups to lay down their arms. “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.”
The ICC prosecutor, Bensouda, urged the 15-member body UNSC to provide assistance to apprehend and arrest the suspects, including President Omar Al-Bashir, for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur.
She said Al-Bashir continues to defy the arrest warrant and travel across the world and Africa. She also noted the UNSC had taken no action on 13 referrals by the ICC of countries who had not complied with the demands of the ICC.
By failing to act in response to such court decisions, this council is, in essence, relinquishing and undermining its clear role on such matters
“Inviting, facilitating or supporting the international travel of any person subject to an ICC arrest warrant is inconsistent with a commitment to international criminal justice and is also an affront to the victims in the Darfur situation,” Bensouda added.
Two months ago, the ICC held a special hearing to decide whether South Africa should be sanctioned for not arresting Al-Bashir in June 2015 when the Sudanese president attended an African Union leader’s summit. The government in Pretoria denied flouting international law or breaking its obligations to the court arguing under international law they had no powers to detain a sitting president of a foreign sovereign state.