Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) official said President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s inability to attend the African Union summit has nothing to do with the latest arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Rabie Abdullati Obeid also hailed the African Union after Jean Ping, AU commission chairman, said the ICC’s chief prosecutor does not care whether the latest arrest warrant interferes with peace efforts in Sudan.
“The stance that the African Union has already taken from the very beginning, from the very first warrant of arrest of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, that stance was positive and is still positive. And now, the African Union is still on this concrete stance that Omar Hassan Al-Bashir should not be [arrested after being] accused by [the] ICC, and the AU condemned that procedure taken by the ICC,” he said.
The African Union has often said that the indictments against the Sudanese leader could undermine the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), as well as imperil the resolution of the Darfur crisis.
The CPA signed between President Bashir’s government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) ended over two decades of war. The peace accord also stipulates that residents in the south should vote to decide whether to be part of the original Sudan or secede and become an independent nation. The referendum is schedule for January 9.
Last week, President Bashir went on a state visit to neighboring Chad despite the latest arrest warrant against him. Several international rights groups demanded his arrest since Chad is a signatory to the Rome Statute which led to the formation of the ICC.
Last year, the Hague-based court issued an arrest warrant against President Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. The court recently added genocide charges to the previous arrest warrant accusing him of presiding over rape, torture and murder in western Darfur.
Critics say The Hague-based court has often targeted alleged crimes committed only in Africa, but not elsewhere around the world.
The African Union’s Ping was quoted as saying, “There seems to be some bullying against Africa.”
NCP official Obeid said the continental body understands the Sudan situation.
“Recently, the African Union rejected the request of opening an office in Addis Ababa by [the] ICC,” Obeid said.
Attended by over 30 heads of state and government, the 15th Ordinary session of the Assembly of African Union summit is scheduled to end in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, Tuesday.
Article by Peter Clottey, VOA News