African Hippos voted not to cooperate with the International Criminal Court – By Andrew Heavens – KHARTOUM (Reuters)

July 4th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

Sudan said on Saturday its president was free to travel across Africa after heads of state of the African Union voted not to cooperate with the International Criminal Court’s indictment of him. (more…)

Sudan said on Saturday its president was free to travel across Africa after heads of state of the African Union voted not to cooperate with the International Criminal Court’s indictment of him.

The global court has issued an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on charges he masterminded human rights abuses in Sudan’s western Darfur region.

Under the court’s founding statute, member countries are required to arrest suspects within their territories. Bashir has only visited states not bound by the court’s rules since the warrant was issued in March.

African Union heads of state meeting in Libya on Friday adopted a motion saying they would not cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its order to arrest Bashir or surrender him.

The African Union wants a deferment of the indictment, saying the warrant compromises peace efforts in Darfur.

Khartoum said on Saturday the decision meant Bashir would not fear arrest even if he visited South Africa and 29 other states on the continent signed up to the global court.

“The president is free to travel anywhere in Africa, including those countries that have ratified the ICC’s Rome statute,” said Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadig.

“We think that Africa is now one front against the ICC … Most Africans believe it is a court that has been set up against Africa and the third world. (The African Union decision) makes us feel that we are not alone, that people are supporting us.”


Bashir did not attend the inauguration of South African President Jacob Zuma in May, amid reports Pretoria had warned Khartoum that the Sudanese leader could be arrested.

Al-Sadig said there would now be no obstacles to a visit.

“Maybe at one point, the new South African government expressed some negative views … As South Africa was part of the decision at Sirte, it implies that this means he would be able to travel there.”

“As far as we are concerned, whenever there are meetings in the African continent, or in Arab countries, he will go there,” added al-Sadig.

The spokesman said he thought the African Union’s decisions were immediately binding on members, so Bashir would not have to wait for further approval from the parliaments of each state.

Al-Sadig added he was not aware of any immediate plans for the president to embark on a wider African tour.

Rights group Amnesty International criticized the AU vote, saying it undermined the credibility of the 53-member body.

“This decision by the African Union member states shows a disdain for those in Darfur who suffered gross human rights violation and makes a mockery of the AU as an international body,” said Amnesty Africa director Erwin van der Borght.

“By supporting a wanted person accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, it undermines the credibility of states which are party to the Rome Statute and the AU as a whole.”

Washington accuses Bashir of committing genocide during the conflict in Darfur, that surged in 2003 when mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the Sudan government, accusing it of neglecting the western region.

Estimates of the death count range from 10,000, according to Khartoum, to 300,000, according the United Nations. Sudan accuses Western media of exaggerating the violence.

(Editing by Charles Dick)

  1. simeneh
    | #1

    As I read and hear of all the hope from around the world being bestowed upon, one man, Barack Obama, I wonder if there will be any hope left for ourselves. Don’t we have a responsibility to invest hope in ourselves? If we can muster enough hope in ourselves, maybe, the hope that we had for Obama will come to fruition. We Africans at home and around the world must strive to be the best at whatever livelihood we pursue. Respect for each other is indispensable and we must also be able to disagree without being condescending and unpleasant towards one another.

    The culprit in Africa: more or less, has inherited foreign culture, become largely Americanized, Europeanized or Asianized. Almost 90% of Africans today continue to buy, sell and wear western outfits, rather than African traditional clothes, and all that it has to impose or offer. We no longer care about our roots, villages, languages, cultures and inheritances. We despise ourselves, despise and denigrate our fellow Africans if they exhibit themselves wearing their cultural outfits and aspire only to compare ourselves with all that is not us or to be like those who are not like us.

    No wonder everyone is scrambling to grab pieces of Africa because we are not prepared and committed to treasure and protect our own backyard and our own brothers and sisters and allowing foreign aids to corrupt us and not being recognized as equals in the eyes of those who render their alms.

    This brings me to the question of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which is a good model for the administration of international justice beyond the borders of sovereign states, Western double standards and arrogance have made it irrelevant and this in-turn has made it possible for Africans to go soft on our despots.

    The Western society, Americans, wouldn’t allow or permit even their lowest citizen to be tried by the ICC. How come they want African leaders to be tried by the ICC? One has to ask the bigger question we are facing today: why are the indictments mainly against African leaders and/ or rebels? Africa doesn’t have a monopoly on atrocities. What about “the three stooges”, George W. Bush, Britain’s former Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Australian counterpart John Howard, who have created axis of evil reigniting the sixteen century “triangle trade” era of slavery rule of law in the twentieth century; lied to the world community about what they called weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in order to silence, oust and kill those who opposed their policies; they committed unforeseen atrocities against humanity, displaced so many families, murdered, tortured and incarcerated millions of children, men and women around the world. Why wouldn’t they be persecuted and appear before the World’s Court? Who are the governing body of the “world court”?

    “I don’t admit that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race, has come in and taken its place”-Winston Churchill to the Palestine Royal Commission, 1937.

    What comes out, of all of this, is what most Africans see as organized hypocrisy, selective justice, orchestrated double standards, and a refusal by the western world to see and treat African blacks as equals and responsible.

    Alike Iraq or the Middle East, it seems that the primary motive underpinning the cries of Darfur’s genocide is not a concern for humanity but to seek control of Sudan’s oil or to ensure the breakaway of South Sudan and Darfur. If the concern was highly motivated to save human lives, one would genuinely ask, what about the genocides committed in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo where millions of lives perished in an oil free country? Alternatively, this is to instigate a regime change that will impose a US- friendly government at the helm where Darfur to be used as justification by South Sudan to secede, China, Malaysia and India would lose significant sources of oil and investment. Everyone is taking a ride and profiteering at the expense of developing country’s genocides.

    May we co-operate to solve our problem in our own way!!

  2. nahme
    | #2

    Thousands flee Eritrea seeking asylum only to face violence
    Khataza Gondwe | The Guardian

    Last week, Abrehale Misghina, a 28-year-old Eritrean refugee, committed suicide in broad daylight in a public park in Tel Aviv. He had snatched a mobile phone from a young boy and, after a desperate attempt to make a call, collapsed in tears. He then returned the phone to its owner, dragged a dustbin to a nearby tree, climbed on top of it, threw a rope over a branch, placed a noose around his neck and hanged himself.

    Misghina’s story is typical of the suffering of Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers. Increasing numbers Eritreans have fled their country since President Isaias Afewerki came to power in 1993. Afewerki was initially hailed as a model leader, but is now seen as one of the worst dictators in Africa.

    Meetings of more than seven people require permission in Eritrea. Internet use is monitored. There is no free press, independent judiciary or political opposition. Citizens, tourists and diplomats require permission to travel from one town to another. Military service conscripts are used as forced labor in development projects and, despite the failure of successive rains and imminent famine, food aid was outlawed in favor of a “work for food” program, ostensibly designed to promote self-reliance, but which in reality ensures compliance.

    The suppression of the press and of political opposition in September 2001 provided early indications of the authoritarian nature of the ruling regime. Then, in 2002, the government in effect outlawed every religious practice except Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Lutheranism and Sunni Islam, and increasingly detained practitioners of proscribed religious persuasions indefinitely without trial. Authorized groups face repression. Almost 3,000 of the estimated 20,000 Eritrean prisoners of conscience are Christians, detained pending denial of their faith. The ordained Orthodox patriarch was illegally deposed and placed under house arrest. Catholic property has been seized. About 40 Muslim clerics were indefinitely detained.

    I have interviewed former prisoners of all faiths and none. They describe a myriad of inhumane punishments, including beatings, rape, people blinded by the sun after months/years imprisoned underground, prisoners bound for so long in contorted positions that limbs atrophy and are amputated, imprisonment in shipping containers, extra-judicial executions, and inadequate food, water and medical treatment.

    Small wonder that thousands flee, despite a shoot-to-kill policy for escapees. Some pick their way through the mined and patrolled border with Ethiopia. Others cross the Sahara on foot to Sudan, but have found little hope of sanctuary since the country’s rapprochement with Eritrea. Putting their lives in the hands of people smugglers, they try to escape to Libya, where they face severe mistreatment, racial discrimination and harsh detention. Some subsequently cross the Mediterranean in overcrowded, unseaworthy vessels hoping for refuge in Europe, where asylum is far from assured. Others enter Egypt, risking fines for illegal entry, harsh imprisonment and, worse still, forcible return to Eritrea. Those who cross into Israel run into the harsh reality of the modern state, where an anti-infiltration law may soon criminalize asylum seeking, and where they are either imprisoned or forced to live in slums.

    The search for refuge has resulted in the deaths of an unknown number of Eritreans in the Sahara, the Mediterranean or, like Misghina, through suicide in foreign cities.

    Human rights organizations recently pointed out that a European Union decision to release development aid to Eritrea is effect an economic lifeline for a repressive regime that will manipulate its distribution. Perhaps the EU would act differently if it considered the increase in the flow of refugees to its borders, and in their appalling suffering en route.

  3. Selamta
    | #3

    AU, as an organization has no mandate to overrun the ICC indictment conducted under UN mandate. Only UN can turn this decision and that will never happen.

    30+ African nations are ICC signatories and each state has to decide with in its own, not under AU. For Instance Botswana said on 5 July, she will co-operate with ICC.

    AU is no longer relevant. It is now officially becoming the Arab league Toilet. Many AU members including Black Africans such as Sudan, Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Senegal and so on are members of the Arab league, thinking they are Arabs rather than being Blacks. Shame.

    Can you imagine a Sudanese look like person thinks he is the same race with the Arabs like those from Syria, Jordan and elsewhere? It is the same like a black man is saying I’m naturally a white man. Even in this case it can be possible because many blacks and whites are playing, learning, understanding, respecting, working and living together with peace, unity and harmony. But it is impossible between blacks and Arabs. The Arabs see the Blacks as Slaves and they never treat them as equal. The Arabs are the worst racist ever back then and today, too. The Arab man can marry a black woman as one of the wives. But, they don’t allow an Arab woman to marry a black man. Yet, Dark countries like Sudan likes to be called as Arabs. That is why they are implementing the Arabs agenda in Africa against the black Africans. They have brainwashed them to forget/confuse who really they are. The Sudanese that are seeking to be called as Arabs have the highest inferiority complex on earth.

    The Africans and the world know that. Bashir is doing this to serve the Arabs implementing their long term agenda in Africa including in Darfur, southern Sudan, Gordofa, Abeyi, Neyala, North Eastern Sudan (Beja) and elsewhere in the country. That is why the Arabs are using the AU which is the weakest organization on earth, to implement their agenda, including by not co operating with ICC or anything that is against their interest in Africa. Oil money that is coming like flood from the oil drinker west is serving them this way while affecting the Black Africans. The only difference is that basher don’t like the Sudanese while he has no hate the country-Sudan(Black). While Meles is a champion both of them. He hates the Ethiopian people and Ethiopia.

  4. Free Bertukan
    | #4

    I think the decision can be seen as a fence for the current African leaders against any alleged crime. Who, in his right mind would vote for his own imprisonment? Most of those leaders are criminal politicians anyway. I bet they would further encourage Bashir to use even stronger force in Darfur while pretending he is controling the situation.

    Africa should have its own regional criminal court (ACC). But, would these leaders dig their own grave?

  5. yikerbelen
    | #5

    we will see . whether the africa’s bloody dictators will above an international law as they are in their own country and continue their killing of innocent africa’s children or the international communities must force them to go hand in hand with the norm of an international law.I think Africa and it’s citizens are under UN , and I hope UN will not let down the africa’s people . All criminals including moneky melese should face justice and must be punished . other wise UN will loss it’s legitmacy and the world will run by gangisters .down with TPLF

  6. Free Bertukan
    | #6

    Hello, Selmata. The Habesha identity crisis is also similar to that. All Habesha (mixed mulato of black Africans or Ethiopians who call themselves Semitic) despise their black African ancestory. Read Ato Obang Metho’s articles in his wesbite. The Somalis, the Djiboutians, and some Eritreans also calim their Arab ancestory and heritage disregadring their Africanness. Northern Ethiopians including the Amhara and Tigre pride themselves for arriving from Yemen and South Arabia and settling in the highlands of the Ethiopia we know now and beyond. Evidently, people living in the coastal areas of Red Sea and Indian Ocean alike, as in other parts of Africa, have been mixed through generations of migratory intermarriages and so on.

    I think the best definition of Africanness should be: anyone who has black African cell in his blood and anyone who claims to be African biologically or birth or geo-political disposition. My generation had always believed in its blackness, i.e., Africannes. That is why OAU was proudly established in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a country symbolizing African resistance and liberty.

    For your info, I am Ethiopian and African to the core, from the interior Ethiopia. I do not espouse ethnic superiority or inferiority, for we all human beings created in the image of God, ccording the biblical accounts.

    It is good that those African leaders are now speaking as one but I do not agree that justice should not be served the people of Darfur, Sudan. They should respect the rule of international law lest they lose their country’s sovereignty(which may be meaningless, at times).

    Africans should have their own system of justice and legal interpretations and interventions based on their socio-cultural and existential environment. We should not be social “guinea-pigs” for Westen experiments any more.

    Please, do not use derogatory vocabulary words like “monkey Meles”; I respect him or anyone as a person.

    Let us have a good but serious discussion.

    God bless.

  7. game plan!
    | #7

    Fox, don’t miss the big picture! it is not about helping africans,
    it is about Golbal world order! (or one world government, which will be against the government of haven) and the few
    at the top have stumbling blocks, few of them – cristianity, industrilization, and Sovergnity of states, which they want to avoid or by pass, when the war on terrorism is lossing steam, they are using another of their narco-dollar funded agency! ICC is purposly to avoid states sovernity like the
    war on terrorism!

  8. yikerbelen
    | #8

    Free Birtukan, would you tell which ethnice group did not come from arab? Do you know really where is the birthpalce of Noah? Do you know which place Noah’s three children didvided the world among them selves? For it is an insulting if any one will tell me that I am not African, but arabian.The entire african’s people came from middle east . do not worry. be happy. it is good you are proud ethiopian and african. that is enough. more over you are human being. that is more than enough

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