Sudan dismisses Bashir arrest move

Envoy vows not to co-operate amid reports of arrest warrant for country's president.

    Prosecutors want al-Bashir indicted for orchestrating a "genocide" in Sudan's western Darfur region [AFP]

    "We are not going to be surprised if this decision is issued today or tomorrow or if it has already been issued," he said.

    "Because we know this court is a political court, a politically motivated decision, it will never bother us at all. It means nothing to us. We are in no way going to co-operate with this decision."

    'Co-operation' call

    ICC prosecutors said last year that they had evidence that al-Bashir had committed war crimes, but the precise charges against the president have not been disclosed.

    It would be the first time the ICC has sought the detention of a sitting head of state since it was established in 2002.

    Al Jazeera's Kristen Saloomey reported the UN secretary-general's office had said it had not been notified of any ICC decision and declined to comment.

    But Ban Ki-moon, the UN chief, had on Tuesday urged the Sudanese leader to co-operate with the ICC if a warrant is issued.

    "He [Bashir] should fully co-operate with whatever decisions the ICC makes," Ban told reporters at the UN headquarters.

    Peace negotiations

    But Abdalhaleem dismissed the ICC as a "hostage to the political will of some powers on the [UN] Security Council".

    "If the secretary-general wants us to believe that the court is independent, then he should stop becoming its spokesperson," he said.

    Reports of the arrest warrant came on the same day that the Sudanese government and the opposition Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) met in Qatar.

    Khalil Ibrahim, the leader of the JEM, and Nafie Ali Nafie, the head of a Sudanese government delegation, held face-to-face talks in Doha, the Qatari capital, marking the first peace negotiations between the group and Khartoum since 2007.

    'Genocide campaign'

    The talks, which are under the auspices of Qatar, the United Nations and the African Union, will continue on Thursday.

    Ali Nafie (l) and Ibrahim (r) are in Qatar
    for peace talks [AFP]

    James Bays, Al Jazeera's correspondent at the talks, said the potential arrest warrant, while not an official issue at the talks, was the main point of discussion on the sidelines.

    "One theory here is that the leak from the UN was quite deliberate," Bays said.

    "They were flagging up the possibility of an imminent arrest warrant, because they know that this peace deal is getting close.

    "They didn't want the parties here ... to come to a deal and then that deal have to be torn up in a couple of weeks when that arrest warrant is issued."

    Bays said that Ali Nafie had said that any arrest warrant was a "colonial effort to colonise Africa" and that there was no way that their government would be surrendered.

    Last year Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief ICC prosecutor, asked the court's judges to indict al-Bashir for orchestrating what he described as a "campaign of genocide" in Sudan's western Darfur region in which 35,000 people were killed in 2003 alone.

    UN officials say at least 2.5 million were left homeless and have put the death toll as high as 300,000.

    Sudan has rejected the use of the term genocide and said 10,000 people died.

    The Sudanese government has said that it would continue co-operating with UN peacekeepers in the country even if al-Bashir is indicted, but has warned there may be widespread demonstrations of public outrage.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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