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03.10.2008 Politics

ACP Heads call for suspension of demarche

By gna

ACP Heads of State have called for the
suspension of the International Criminal Court's (ICC) action against the Sudanese head of State to allow for political and diplomatic efforts to
address the situation in Darfur.

In a declaration, the Heads of State condemned what they described as
the use of unilateral coercive measures such as illegal sanction against
certain countries with a view to preventing these countries from the exercise
of their right to determine their own political, economic and social system.

The Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir was indicted
mid-July this year by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allegedly leading a campaign of murder, rape and mass deportation against the people of Darfur.

However, African Union leaders have intervened and asked the United Nations to defer possible proceedings for the alleged war crimes against him.

In a strongly worded address at the opening session of the ACP
conference on Thursday, President al-Bashir said the unprecedented move by the ICC prosecutor's to have him arrested on war crime charges was
undermining the ongoing comprehensive peace process.

The move, he said, was also sending wrong signals to Darfur Rebel
Movements to move away from the negotiation table.

President al-Bashir described the move by the ICC prosecutor as
'politically motivated action in a legal and humanitarian cloak," adding that, "International legal institutions should not be used as weapons to score political objectives." he added.

President Bashir's concerns might have found favour with other
colleague Heads of State at the meeting but fell short of a blanket request for withdrawal.

Asked whether the call for suspension did not give the ICC room to
pursue the arrest of al-Bashir in future, President Kufuor who addressed journalists said that was not the idea behind the call for suspension of the indictment.
The declaration which cuts across politics, development and trade, urged development partners to mobilise and provide adequate resources in support of the efforts of ACP states to effectively manage tropical forests and river basins, which represented considerable economic, environmental and social benefits for the life and development of citizens.
There was also a call on the international community to agree on a global strategy to stabilise oil prices at affordable levels in order to protect the growth prospects of the developing countries and urged the UN to convene an international Summit to address the problems and propose solutions to high oil prices and its impact on the livelihoods of people.