October 24, 2012 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s Vice President, Riek Machar, and the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, met on Tuesday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, and discussed issues of the court’s concern including the case of Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir.
- South Sudan VP Riek Machar shaking hands with the new ICC Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, Nairobi, 23-10-2012 (ST)
Machar who returned to Juba on Wednesday from a three-week trip abroad told a group of journalists at Juba international airport shortly after his arrival from Nairobi that the meeting discussed the expected visit to Juba of the Sudan’s President, Al-Bashir, who is indicted by the ICC.
He said he was seeking an understanding with the ICC’s top prosecutor so that the court will not perceive South Sudan as if it is against the court’s indictment by inviting Al-Bashir to the country.
Bensouda is a Gambian national and has replaced the former Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, Louis Ocampo, who indicted President Al-Bashir over war crimes the court said he committed in Darfur region.
Juba has invited Khartoum’s Bashir for the first time after independence in order to tackle some of the outstanding issues the two countries have yet to resolve and to implement the recently signed Addis Ababa cooperation agreement.
The meeting, he added, also discussed the fate of the leadership of the Ugandan rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and what could be the reaction of the newest state if one of the LRA leaders were to be captured by the African Union-sponsored joint regional force which is currently stationed in South Sudan to pursue the LRA.
The new nation of South Sudan is not yet a member of the war crimes court, however all the UN members have to cooperate with the ICC because the UN Security Council referred the case of Darfur to the court in a resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter where it urges the international community to cooperate with it.
Machar said he also met with senior officials of the Kenyan government on Tuesday including the Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, during which they discussed bilateral issues between Juba and Nairobi.
The Vice President added that his long mission was to participate in the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York in addition to a medical check up on his eye, which he said had recovered.
He also visited six different states in the US where he held meetings with South Sudanese communities across that country and sought their support to the Addis Ababa cooperation agreement with Sudan.