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16.07.2008 Politics

Indictment of al-Bashir will lead to chaos – IDEG

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Dr. Kwesi Jonah, a Scholar Resident at the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) Ghana, on Tuesday said the possible indictment of Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir at the International Criminal Court (ICC), would not be in the interest of the peace and stability in Sudan.

“Justice is necessary, but justice against President al-Bashir in the midst of the current unstable situation in Sudan will only lead to more mayhem and atrocities in that country,” he told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra.

The leading Prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno Ocompo has charged President al-Bashir with 10 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the five year-old Darfur massacre, which has led to the deaths of some 300,000 Sudanese and the displacement of over two million more.

Mr Ocompo in his report, to be presented to the ICC on Tuesday, July 15, 2008, noted that there was ample evidence of President al-Bashir's support for the infamous Janjaweed militia and the Sudanese army, who killed men and raped women of ethnic groups opposed to the president.

President al-Bashir was also accused of deliberately putting impediments in the way of and intimidating UN and AU peacekeeping and foreign relief groups in Sudan to help displaced persons.

Dr. Jonah said the charges Mr. Ocompa had preferred against President al-Bashir were justified and in order but if the ICC issued an arrest warrant on al-Bashir at this time the Janjaweed and the army would visit their atrocities on the UN, AU and all foreign relief organisations in that country.

“President Al-Bashir and his people see this whole move as a western plot and so they will punish any western organisation in Sudan for the actions of the ICC.

“Placing an arrest warrant on al-Bashir at this point in time is like signing the death warrant of all western organisations in Sudan and even of more Sudanese.

Dr Jonah said the evidence available to Mr Ocompo was all well and good but “if I have the chance to speak with him I will ask him not to present it to the ICC yet, but to hold on and allow the ongoing peace process take its course.”

Dr Jonah argued that the charges were enough to put al-Bashir on his toes to be more committed to the peace process, but an indictment and an arrest warrant would derail the process.

He said at this point in time the concern of the international community should be on peace and stability of Sudan and the Darfur region in particular and not the justice against al-Bashir and his men.

“The peace and stability of Sudan should be first and justice against al-Bashir should come second,” he said.

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