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17.03.2009 Editorial

No mercy for Al Bashir


African Foreign Ministers who attended the NORDIC-Africa summit in Copenhagen, are reported to have condemned the International Criminal Court (ICC) for issuing an international warrant for the arrest of Sudanese President, Omar Al Bashir, describing the decision as wrongly timed. According to a report filed by the GNA it was the view of the Ministers that the ICC should have considered the concerns of the African Union (AU) that the warrant should be suspended, to allow the continuation of the peace processes in Sudan.

The Chronicle finds the attitude of the Foreign Ministers and the African Union (AU) as a mark of hypocrisy. Where were these same Ministers and the AU when Charles Taylor was arrested and sent to The Hague to face justice over his alleged role in the Liberia and Sierra Leone conflict that killed thousands of innocent people? Clearly, there is no way Africa would develop if our leaders continue to support such naked robbery and murder by some of their colleagues.

The AU and African Foreign Ministers have witnessed the atrocities of Al Bashir, yet they have failed to bring him to book, or use mediation as they are now claiming, to stop the killings and human right abuses going in the Darfur region. If the world hailed the arrest and trial of the late Serbian President, Slobodan Milosevic, for his role in the killings that went on in his country, why should leaders in Africa behave as if the international warrant that has been issued for the arrest of Al Bashir has never happened before?

If they are convinced that Al Bashir has not committed any crime, they should persuade the man to surrender himself to the court to defend his case. We do not think the ICC can deliberately put him behind bars if they do not have any incriminating evidence against him. The Chronicle is calling on civil right organizations on the African continent to rise up against the undue support being offered to Al Bashir by our African leaders, because it has the potential to encourage other Presidents on the continent to abuse power in order to commit heinous crimes and go away with it.

Zimbabwean and The Gambian Presidents, Robert Mugabe and Yahaya Jammeh have for something now been using all foul means to suppress opposition in their respective countries, which the AU is aware of, yet they have not made any single statement on it, but if the international community decides to crack the whip, the same African leaders will come out to support their colleagues.

The Chronicle is, therefore, not surprised with the latest attempts to shield Al Bashir. We however, urge that the ICC should not relent on its efforts to arrest the Sudanese President, if the court can prove that the evidence at their disposal is incriminatory enough.

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