Saturday, July 12, 2008

Embassy of Sudan: Ocampo's Political Pursuits Jeopardize Peace

12 Jul 2008 00:49 Africa/Lagos

Embassy of Sudan: Ocampo's Political Pursuits Jeopardize Peace

WASHINGTON, July 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --

The International Criminal Court's prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo recently addressed the United Nations where he urged the Security Council to exert pressure on the Government of Sudan to extradite two individuals who the court has charged with crimes against humanity, accusing them of orchestrating violence in Darfur by arming and recruiting militias. In his statement, the prosecutor sought to implicate and sweepingly condemn the entire Government, alleging that high-ranked officials were involved in carrying out atrocities in Darfur and that he will shortly release names. His case rested on rather dubious speculation, claiming that the scale of the crisis suggested a co-ordination at the highest levels of the state apparatus.

While recognizing and appreciating the Court's proclaimed ideals and values towards human rights and its concern for the suffering citizens in Darfur, Sudan is disappointed and denounces very much the unwarranted and incendiary remarks made then by the Prosecutor and condemns strongly any motion the court may make to insist on these grossly offensive allegations.

There is no question that war criminals must face justice, and Sudan has its national Supreme Court supported by a strong constitutionally-backed judicial system that upholds the highest principles of justice. It has in the past prosecuted those identified to have committed crimes against humanity in Darfur and shall continue to do so wherever in Sudan similar crimes may occur. It can exercise justice within its territory far better than the ICC ever could. The Court's jurisdiction is confined to its 106 member states that have ratified the Rome statute. Sudan is not one of its constituencies. It has full confidence in its own institutions and is not looking to outsource its responsibility, especially not to a double standard entity whose integrity has seriously suffered.

Many, including the U.S., India, and China are non-signatories, which means any of their citizens found guilty of crimes that may fall within the scope of the Court's mandate will face justice domestically. Some of these countries have gone as far as to adopt measures that would allow the use of force to retrieve nationals detained by the Court. Ocampo would not dare pursue anyone in those territories.

This fact is worrisome and unfortunate for it renders the ICC as a body that can only pursue cases selectively. Its credibility as an objective and impartial body is instantly shattered. Its case against Sudan is only an exercise of flexing muscles by picking on those it perceives as easy prey, those whose sovereignty, integrity and authority it can violate and override without international fuss. And indeed, this is highlighted by the fact that its pursuits to date are all located in Africa when the world knows very well that equally egregious if not worse crimes are being committed outside the black continent. This is a reality that exposes the court as a tool of the more powerful countries and also typifies and perpetuates the appalling and misguided notion that Africans are incapable of solving their own problems.

This same condescending and paternalistic attitude was also the root of the plot revealed boastfully by their very own spokesperson to kidnap Sudan's state minister for Humanitarian Affairs. Though it failed, the plan was to commence during the minister's flight to Saudi Arabia on his way to perform the annual haj pilgrimage in Mecca, where the Court would hijack the plane and redirect its course to where their suspect can be detained. The same Court whose sole existence is to render justice where it's not observed has now so easily resorted to terroristic means. The stunt, so characteristic of a thug, of a criminal, circumvents all moral principles and raises the question as to the justice the court is ululating and advocating for.

The announcement, should it take place as expected, cannot be perceived as anything else but an attempt to undermine progress made in Sudan. With the recent appointment of a new envoy to lead the mediation process between the Government and the dozens of rebels in Darfur, the resolution of the Abyei deadlock, and the passing of the elections bill that would ensure the country's transition to democracy, how else can such a gesture be construed but as a strike against these milestones?

It would simply be an encouragement to the rebels who on Wednesday carried out a devastating attack that killed 7 and wounded 22 AU-UN peacekeeping forces, an incident that must be fully condemned and for which strong punitive measures towards the perpetrators must be adopted. This passive policy that the international community has long espoused has enabled rampant banditry in the region as rebels are increasingly emboldened by the world's reluctance to join Sudan in holding them accountable for their crimes. This was not their first attack on the international force. In October last year the rebels assaulted the UNAMID base in Haskanita, killing 7 peacekeepers and wounding several others. This incident passed without scrutiny from the same people who're now claiming to be in pursuit of justice.

Sudan is calling and reaching out to all peace-loving nations to support efforts currently underway to bring about peace and stability in its troubled region. Security for our citizens is a chief concern and Ocampo's conduct is counter to this agenda. In his bid to build a profile for the nascent Court under the pretext of pursuit of justice, he should be cautious that his actions do not contribute to the suffering of our people.

CONTACT: Embassy of the Republic of Sudan, Information office, +1-202-338-8565, +1-202-667-2406

Source: Embassy of Sudan

CONTACT: Embassy of Republic of Sudan, Information office,
+1-202-338-8565, +1-202-667-2406

1 comment:

Aaron X said...

China 'is fuelling war in Darfur'

[The BBC has found the first evidence that China is currently helping Sudan's government militarily in Darfur.

The Panorama TV programme tracked down Chinese army lorries in the Sudanese province that came from a batch exported from China to Sudan in 2005.

The BBC was also told that China was training fighter pilots who fly Chinese A5 Fantan fighter jets in Darfur.

China's government has declined to comment on the BBC's findings, which contravene a UN arms embargo on Darfur.]

[ Air attacks

In these attacks Darfur's civilians have been hunted not just from the ground, but from the sky.

Most civilians who tell stories of aerial attacks talk about Russian made Antanovs and helicopter gunships.

Many also talk about fighter jets being used, but no-one has ever answered the question of which type of fighter jets these are.

Kaltam Abakar Mohammed, a mother of seven, watched three of her children being blown to pieces as they were attacked by a fighter jet on 19 February in the town of Beybey in Darfur.

The BBC has established that Chinese Fantan fighter jets were flying on missions out of Nyala airport in south Darfur in February.

Panorama acquired satellite photographs of the two fighters at the airport on 18 June 2008, and its investigations indicate these are the only fighter jets that have been based in Darfur this year.

When Kaltam heard the sound of fighting early that morning, she took her children and ran.

"We start running near the well," she said. "We hid behind a big rock. Something that looks like an eagle started coming from over there. It looked like an eagle but it made a funny noise."

When the plane unleashed two bombs Kaltam's five-year-old daughter, Nura, was dismembered from the chest up.

Her eight-year-old son, Adam, was killed instantly, as was her 20-year-old daughter, Amna.

Kaltam's 19-month-old grandson still has shrapnel in his head from the fighter jet bombing. He cries a lot and often calls out for his mother, but she was killed in the attack.

Kaltam's 13-year-old girl, Hawa, cannot grasp what she saw happen that day to her brother and two sisters. She rarely speaks now.]

[Pilot training

The Chinese Fantan jets are believed to have been delivered to Sudan in 2003 before the current UN arms embargo was imposed on Darfur.

But the BBC has been told by two confidential sources that China is training Fantan fighter pilots.

Sudan imported a number of fighter trainers called K8s two years ago - they are designed to train pilots of fighters like Fantans.

"Clearly this is what they used to train for operations with the Fantans," said Chris Dietrich, a former member of the UN panel on Darfur.

International lawyer Ms da Silva says if China is training Fantan pilots, this represents another Chinese violation of the UN arms embargo.

"The terms of the embargo cover not only just the supply of weapons, military vehicles, paramilitary equipment. It also covers training any technical assistance, so the training of pilots obviously falls within the scope of the embargo." ]