ICC: No Arrest Warrant Yet for Al-Bashir

February 13, 2009

This is the month that the International Criminal Court at the Hague was to issue an arrest warrant for the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir. The New York Times, basing its information on unnamed lawyers and diplomats, reported late Wednesday, February 11, that judges had decided to issue said warrant.

On Thursday, February 12, the court quickly clarified that “no decision had been made” on whether to issue an arrest warrant for al-Bashir in connection with atrocities and genocide in the Darfur region.

A flurry of news items then went out confirming and denying the action. It was soon learned that the UN Security Council had discussed the situation in Sudan and the “possibility” that the ICC would move to arrest the Sudanese President. Some of the Council members expressed the concern that working for peace in Sudan and upholding justice at the same time presented a dilemma.

France suggested that the ICC should withhold the arrest if al-Bashir would surrender two senior Sudanese officials charged with the killings in Darfur.

Some felt that the fragile Comprehensive Peace Agreement (the north/south peace pact) of 2005 would be in jeopardy. Other arguments pro and con continued. Apparently the ICC will consider all the angles before making such a far-reaching decision.

FYI: More than 300,000 people have been killed in the ethnic war in Darfur since 2005.
There are now about 13,000 international peacekeepers in Darfur and another 10,000 monitoring the peace agreement between Khartoum and southern Sudan.

Sources for this post: The Times, Feb. 13, 2009; www. ynetnews.com.

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