June 7, 2009 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir lashed out at the International Criminal Court (ICC) saying the latter is seeking to undermine his country’s sovereignty.
The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Bashir last March on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Bashir also faces the possibility of genocide charges which the ICC judges scrapped by a majority saying evidence does not meet the threshold.
The ICC prosecutor said he expects an appeal on adding the charges to be granted in a few weeks
Al-Bashir speaking at the summit of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) in the Zimbabwean resort town of Victoria Falls said that The Hague based court wants to “isolate Sudan from its regional surrounding to pave the way for breaking its unity:.
“I can assure you that the people of Sudan given their resistance, the strength of its internal front and the solidarity of its friends in Africa and the world is able to defeat this malignant plot” he said.
The Sudanese president accused the court of being a proxy to powers who want “to interfere in the affairs of African countries and embezzle its resources”.
However COMESA summit issued a communiqué that fell short of what Sudanese officials had hoped for.
The summit leaders “expressed concern on the International Criminal Court indictment against his Excellency Omar al-Bashir, president of the republic of Sudan, and endorsed the position of the African Union Peace and Security Council for the United Nations to urge the ICC to suspend the indictment,” it said.
Khartoum rejects any reference to suspension under Article 16 of the ICC Statute and considers it recognition of the court.
Sudan says it has not ratified the treaty and thus is not obliged to cooperate with the court. The UN Security Council (UNSC) referred the Darfur situation to the ICC in March 2005 under a Chapter VII resolution.
Al-Bashir returned from Harare on Monday night after his participation in the two-day summit.
Zimbabwe said it was aware of the arrest warrant against Bashir but had no obligation since it is not a member of the ICC.
COMESA consists of Burundi, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.