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ICC prosecutor meets with Saudi FM to discuss Darfur

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May 15, 2008 (RIYADH) — The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Luis Moreno-Ocampo met yesterday with the Saudi foreign minister Saud Al-Faisal in Riyadh.

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Luis Moreno-Ocampo (left) and Saudi foreign minister Saud Al-Faisal (right) in Riyadh; May 14, 2008

The Saudi Foreign ministry issued a brief statement after the meeting saying both sides “discussed regional and international issues” but gave no details.

Last week the ICC said Ocampo will visit Egypt and Saudi Arabia “update officials on the activities of the Office in the four situations currently before the Court”.

However it is likely that the Darfur case was the main item on agenda in the discussions between Ocampo and Al-Faisal.

The ICC prosecutor has been touring some Arab states such as Qatar, Egypt, Jordan and held a meeting with the Arab League officials, in an effort to push them to pressure Sudan to hand over two war crimes suspects charged with war crimes in Darfur.

Ocampo said in a statement before his visit that “co-operation with all partners is of paramount importance in ensuring that the Court’s decisions are implemented and that justice is done for the victims”.

“As long as indicted individuals remain at large, victims are threatened and crimes continue” he added.

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

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.

Earlier this year a well placed source in Khartoum told Sudan Tribune that Haroun, wanted to fly to Saudi Arabia in December to perform the annual Islamic pilgrimage on a forged passport.

Haroun ended up cancelling his travel plans after the Sudanese government found out, the source added.

Saudi Arabia is not a signatory of the Rome Statue that forms the basis of the ICC. However UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution 1593 referring the Darfur situation to the ICC urged all non-State parties to “cooperate fully”.

The Saudi government has generally distanced itself from the issue of Darfur and avoided any public remarks on the matter.

Sudan has not ratified the Rome Statue, but the UN Security Council triggered 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)

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