- The International Criminal Court (ICC) has rejected media reports alleging that it has made a decision to issue an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir on charges of war crimes.
According to a news release issued from The Hague, the Court stated that it has not yet made a decision on Sudanese president regarding the ICC chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo's application for the indictment of the Sudanese leader.
Media reports had said the ICC is expected to issue an arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir for atrocities in the Darfur region citing the United Nations official.
The court's prosecutor, Mr Moreno-Ocampo, asked the three-judge panel in July last year to order al-Bashir's arrest on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. But the panel rejected Mr Moreno-Ocampo's contention that Mr Al Bashir has committed genocide. One of the three judges dissented.
President Al-Bashir would be the first sitting head of state indicted by the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal since it was set up in 2002.
Sudan's UN ambassador, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad, said that the charges are politically motivated and that his government will never surrender Bashir for prosecution. "This means nothing to us. We are not going to be bothered by it at all," he said.
Mr Mohamad warned that the court's action may jeopardize political negotiations underway in Doha, Qatar, between Khartoum and two key Darfurian rebel groups and threaten the stability of Africa's largest country.
Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Ali al-Sadiq underscored Wednesday that "Sudan will not hand over any of its citizens to the ICC and any indictment by the ICC is categorically rejected."
Mr al-Sadiq said that the court is "a mere tool for political conspiracy against the Sudan and that it has nothing to do with the international justice."
However, human rights activists had welcomed the reported ICC decision saying it would bring down the leader who had failed to protect civilian population.
The Save Darfur Coalition called on governments to bar Mr Al Bashir from traveling outside Sudan.
The Darfur conflict started in 2003 when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government complaining of discrimination and neglect in the Darfur region. The United Nations says about 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur since ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government in 2003, complaining of discrimination.
Sudan says 10,000 people have died, and denies charges that its soldiers and allied Janjaweed militiamen have committed war crimes and genocide in Darfur.
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