President Omar Hassan al-Bashir : Sudanese people defeated the ICC by refusing to hand over his officials to “colonial court”
Khartoum ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) – Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is claiming victory over the International Criminal Court after the court’s prosecutor suspended the investigation of alleged war crimes in Darfur.
Speaking in Khartoum Saturday, President Bashir said the Sudanese people “defeated” the ICC by refusing to hand over Sudanese officials to what he called “colonial courts.”
He says the court has “admitted” that failed in its effort against him.
ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said Friday that she has “no choice but [to] hibernate investigative activities” in the Bashir case and shift those resources to other urgent cases.
In an address to the U.N. Security Council, Bensouda said the Council has not pushed hard enough for the arrest of the Sudanese leader.
The charges stem from the Sudanese government’s battle against insurgents in Darfur, dating back to 2003. The ICC indicted Mr. Bashir on 10 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide for attacks on civilians in the region.
The charges include murder, torture, rape, pillaging and attempting to bring about the physical destruction of groups in Darfur.
Bashir refused to turn himself in after his indictment in 2009, and is protected while he is in Sudan. He has since visited several countries that are ICC members – where he presumably would face the risk of arrest – but was not detained on those occasions.
The court also has brought Darfur war-crimes charges against four other Sudanese nationals, all of whom remain at large.
The Security Council is divided over the matter. Security Council member China, which has veto power over Council decisions, is allied with Sudan and has been reluctant to take measures against the Khartoum government.
Rebels in Darfur rose up against the Arab-led Sudanese government in 2003. The United Nations has placed a peacekeeping force in the region, but more than a decade of violence has taken some 300,000 lives and displaced close to 2 million people.
ICC prosecutor shelves Darfur war crimes inquiries
The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor says she has suspended her investigation into war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region because of a lack of action by the UN.
Fatou Bensouda said there needed to be “a dramatic shift” in the UN Security Council’s approach.
The Hague-based court indicted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in 2009 for alleged war crimes.
But he remains at large and has refused to recognise the court’s authority.
Other Sudanese officials have been charged by the ICC, but none has been arrested.
Darfur has been in conflict since 2003 when rebels took up arms.
“It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to appear before you and purport to be updating you when all I am doing is repeating the same things I have said over and over again,” Ms Bensouda told the Security Council.
“Given this council’s lack of foresight on what should happen in Darfur, I am left with no choice but to hibernate investigative activities in Darfur as I shift resources to other urgent cases.”
Analysts say action by the Security Council is unlikely because China – which wields a veto – has traditionally supported Sudan.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the conflict in Darfur
“We find ourselves in a stalemate that can only embolden perpetrators,” Ms Bensouda said.
“What is needed is a dramatic shift in this council’s approach to arresting Darfur suspects.”
Last month, Sudan asked the UN-African Union force in Darfur (Unamid) to close its human rights office in the capital, Khartoum.
The move came amid tensions over the mission’s attempt to investigate claims of mass rape by Sudanese troops in the Darfuri village of Tabit.
Ms Bensouda told the UN that the allegations should “shock this council into action”.
However, Sudan has said it carried out its own investigation and had found no proof that anyone was raped.