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Sudanese President flies to Saudi Arabia to Perform Hajj

December 6, 2008 (KHARTOUM) — Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir today flew to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to perform rituals of Hajj. Since several years the embattled head of state used to take in the largest pilgrimage in the world.

The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, (6 to 10 December).

The fifth pillar of Islam is an obligation that Muslims must carry out at least once in their lifetime. However since three or four years Bashir has used to perform it every year. He also performs Umrah (small pilgrimage) many times a year.

Speaking to the UN Security Council on December 3, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Luis Moreno-Ocampo said that the international community must be prepared for an arrest warrant that may be issued shortly by the judges for Sudanese president

He also urged the cooperation of the international community and asked the UNSC to consider sanctions against individuals whose arrest is sought by the court and those who assist them.

"The international community could not be part of such a cover-up. Faced with genocide and crimes against humanity, we know that inaction and business as usual are part of the crimes," Ocampo warned.

(ST)