Monday, August 04, 2008

Sudan Turns to Mozambique For Support Against ICC Indictments

Embattled leader of Sudan turns to Mozambique

MAPUTO, MOZAMBIQUE Aug 03 2008 07:50

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has sought Mozambican support in his fight against indictment for genocide and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

On Saturday, Mozambican President Armando Guebuza received Sudanese Tourism Minister Joseph Dong, who bore a message from al-Bashir.

"The president of Sudan is accused of being directly linked to genocide in Darfur," said Dong.

"Sudan rejects these accusations. There is no genocide, there are just some political problems. In any case we haven't ratified the treaty setting up this court," he told reporters after meeting Guebuza.

He told reporters that Guebuza said he preferred Sudan's problems to be solved by organs of the African Union dealing with the matter.

Guebuza also said that as it was a political problem, a political solution should be found, Dong told reporters.

The ICC was set up by a treaty that has to date been ratified by 106 countries. Most of the world's democracies have signed up to the ICC, but the United States refuses to recognise it.

The ICC's chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Oxcamp, opened an investigation into Sudan in 2005, at the request of the United Nations Security Council.

On July 14, Moreno-Ocampo declared that he had "reasonable grounds" to believe that al-Bashir "bears criminal responsibility in relation to 10 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes".

According to ICC prosecutors on the case, he allegedly
"masterminded and implemented a plan to destroy in substantial part the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa groups, on account of their ethnicity".

Dong met Guebuza after an earlier meeting scheduled for Friday afternoon was cancelled. Circumstances for the cancellation were not clarified to members of the media who had been invited to the state house by government press officers. -- Sapa

Source: Mail & Guardian Online
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