Saturday, July 19, 2008

Arab league criticizes Sudan charges

CAIRO (Reuters) - The Arab League criticized the International Criminal Court's prosecutor for seeking the arrest of Sudan's president on genocide charges, saying diplomacy should be given a priority to solve the conflict in Darfur.

Arab foreign ministers, holding an emergency meeting in Cairo on Saturday, said Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa would head to Khartoum on Sunday to inform the Sudanese leadership of a plan to defuse the crisis. Moussa said he would announce the details within two days.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, has asked the court for a warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on suspicion of masterminding crimes against humanity in his country's troubled Darfur region.

Moreno-Ocampo accused Bashir of running a campaign of genocide that killed 35,000 people outright, at least another 100,000 through a "slow death" and forced 2.5 million to flee their homes in Darfur.

The final communique of the meeting said the ministers "called for giving the priority for political settlement ... and called for an international high-profile summit to push the political process in Darfur."

Earlier in the day, Algeria urged other Arab nations to press the United Nations Security Council to prevent the ICC from issuing the arrest warrant for Bashir.

"What the prosecutor of the court has done is a dangerous precedent," Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci told his Arab counterparts. Continued...

OK, it's one thing to say that there are leaders of other nations who should be indicted as well (as the angry Arab will no doubt say), but I don't hear them saying that , and this just seem hypocritical to me. Would they say the same if some non-Arab league leader was indicted? If the Arab league wanted to give diplomacy a chance, what efforts have they been making for diplomacy while thousands have been getting slaughtered? On the other hand, if the court does not have the power to jail him, what's the point? Rhetoric about the rule of law will help anyone.

Some southern Sudanese are happy, though.

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