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Sudan Tribune

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UN chief advised to distance himself from Sudan president: report

July 31, 2008 (UNITED NATIONS) – The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has been advised by the Legal department in the world body to “distance himself politically” from the Sudanese president, a news report said today.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses a news conference following talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin July 15, 2008 (Reuters)
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses a news conference following talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin July 15, 2008 (Reuters)
The daily Al-Hayat newspaper published in London said that the recommendation was submitted on the basis of the request made by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant for president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir.

Ocampo asked pre-trial judges in mid-July to issue arrest warrants for Al-Bashir.

The ICC prosecutor filed 10 charges: three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder. Judges are expected to take months to study the evidence before deciding whether to order Al-Bashir’s arrest.

The announcement prompted the African Union (AU), Arab League, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to call for invoking Article 16 of the Rome Statue that defers ICC prosecutions for a period of 12 months that can be renewed indefinitely.

However Western countries including Britain and France strongly resisted such a move.

Al-Hayat quoting unidentified aides of Ban described him as “disappointed” for Al-Bashir’s refusal to cooperate with the ICC.

The UN head has been criticized by human rights advocates during his visit to Khartoum last year for not pressing Sudan on the Darfur war crimes suspects.

However he responded at the time saying that he did raise the issue with the Sudanese president.

“I raised this issue with President (Omar Hassan) Bashir more than once in a private conversation” he said.

“As my meeting was done in private conversation, I should prefer not to disclose all the details,” he said. “But … I will continue to raise and discuss this matter”.

The officials said that the UN chief does not see a way out unless two suspects indicted by the ICC are extradited to the seat of the court.

They further said that Ban Ki-Moon intends to focus on getting full deployment of the UN-African Union (AU) forces in Darfur.

The judges of the ICC issued their first arrest warrants for suspects accused of war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region a year ago.

The warrants were issued for Ahmed Haroun, state minister for humanitarian affairs, and militia commander Ali Mohamed Ali Abdel-Rahman, also know as Ali Kushayb. Sudan has so far rejected handing over the two suspects.

Some Western countries have hinted that for the UNSC to consider deferring Al-Bashir’s indictment they must cooperate with the ICC and hand over Haroun and Kushayb.

But Sudan president said in an interview with the daily Al-Ayaam today that he has no intention of dealing with the ICC.

Sudan has not ratified the Rome Statue, but the UNSC invoked the provisions under the Statue that enables it to refer situations in non-State parties to the world court if it deems that it is a threat to international peace and security.

(ST)