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Sudan Tribune

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Ethiopia voices support to Sudan over ICC charges against Bashir

By Tesfa-alem Tekle

July 28, 2008 (ADDIS ABABA) — The Ethiopian government has strongly opposed the request of arrest warrant by the international criminal court (ICC)against Sudanese president, Omar Hassen Al-Bashir, over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur on July 14.

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zinawi and the Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir. (AFP).

Briefing Ethiopia’s stand over the international court’s request to LA times, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi warned against a “single-minded pursuit of justice” that might hurt efforts to achieve peace in Darfur.

“Concern for justice should not trump concern for peace,” Zenawi said.

He noted that an outstanding warrant of the court against northern Ugandan rebel Joseph Kony, who is accused of kidnapping thousands of children and turning them into soldiers, is believed to be one of the reasons the guerrilla leader refuses to sign a peace accord.

The African union last week urged the UN Security Council to suspend July 14 indictment initiated by ICC.

During the ministerial meeting held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin said his country opposes any crimes against humanity but the prosecution process by the international court has to be fair and balanced.

The government of Ethiopia believes that ICC’s prosecution process is unbalanced, lucks justice and the court’s prosecutor has failed to witness a concrete and convincing testimony.

Furthermore Seyoum said the latest charges over Bashir lucks political discipline and violates the sovereignty of Sudan.

It is not the duty of ICC to present the image of a legal nation as if illegal. He added.

The Arab league and concerned nations have appealed to the court’s chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, filed charges of genocide.

Eritrea also voiced support for its neighbour Sudan, calling the ICC case “an insult” and “harassment” from Western powers.

The international court accuses Sudan’s Bashir of orchestrating genocide that has left tens of thousands of people killed.

Darfur has been beset by violence since a rebellion against the central government began in 2003. At least 200,000 people have died because of the conflict, according to most estimates, and many of the deaths have been blamed on militias that critics say were unleashed by the government to quell the rebellion.

(ST)