ICC indictment of Omar Bashir ‘unwarranted’
Sultan Al-Tamimi JEDDAH: The Jeddah-based 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has called the International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment of Sudanese President Omar Bashir on genocide charges “unwarranted and unacceptable.” At the same time it has urged the UN Security Council to suspend indefinitely the move by the ICC prosecutor to issue an arrest warrant for Bashir.
In a strongly worded communiqué, the OIC yesterday expressed its solidarity with Bashir and said it would coordinate efforts with the African Union, the Arab League, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and other political groups to support steps in the UN and elsewhere aimed at defusing a dangerous situation and preventing a recurrence.
The communiqué was issued after an emergency ministerial meeting here of the Executive Committee of the OIC. The committee, headed by the OIC secretary-general, is composed of Senegal, Malaysia, Egypt, Uganda, Pakistan, Syria and Saudi Arabia. The Sudanese minister of state for foreign affairs, Ali Kurti, also attended the one-day meeting.
“In accordance with the Rome Statute, the ICC can only be complementary to national legal systems which have the primary responsibility of investigating or prosecuting cases over which the ICC has no jurisdiction,” the communiqué said.
The meeting also recommended that the OIC Group in New York develop better ways and means of tackling the issue during the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly in September.
The communiqué said the Jeddah meeting expressed its solidarity with Bashir and full support for the African nation in its bid to achieve genuine national reconciliation, lasting peace and stability within the context of a sovereign and unified country.
It appealed to Sudanese parties and others to recommit themselves to the revival of the peace process in Darfur and deal constructively with various initiatives in this regard.
“The moves of the ICC prosecutor could seriously undermine the ongoing efforts aimed at facilitating and promoting lasting peace in Darfur,” the meeting warned, while expressing concern that the ICC action could lead to further destabilization of the country and the region.
The meeting called on OIC member states and the international community to intensify their engagement in peace-building efforts in Darfur. In addition, it urged them to contribute to reinforcing the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and invest massively in improving humanitarian conditions, reconstruction and development in Darfur.
Saudi representative Jameel ibn Mahmoud Mirdad, head of the Islamic Affairs Department at the Foreign Ministry, reiterated the Kingdom’s support for Sudan and called for greater efforts to reach a political solution in Darfur. He also asked the Security Council to suspend the arrest warrant for Bashir.
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