United Nations officials say the International Criminal Court may seek an arrest warrant Monday for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in connection with war crimes in the Darfur region. The court says chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo will submit evidence Monday alleging crimes committed in the region over the last five years. President al-Bashir is among several top Sudanese government officials that could be named in the case.
Sudan's ambassador to the UN, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad, says Khartoum will continue its policy of not cooperating with the ICC, no matter who is named as a suspect: "For us," he said, "It does not exist. We are not part of it; we are not party to the Rome Statute. So like the US, which is not a member, we are not a member."
He also warned that the ICC's actions could undermine the peace process in Darfur. He said the move could bring about serious repercussions: "All options are open for our reaction to this revelation, and indeed [ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo] is playing with fire. The UN has a very constructive engagement with Sudan; they are dealing on various tracks [with regard to] the peace process and humanitarian…. The ICC is going to spoil all these things and bring us back to square one and put the security of the entire population in jeopardy. He is opening the gates of fire for the whole country and this should be stopped without any delay."
When asked if the move would endanger UN peacekeepers in Sudan, Ambassador Abdalmahmood said, "The Sudan government is careful to its commitment. The UN also promised to guard against any threat to this commitment. The UN should also play a role in safeguarding this cooperation and partnership. The Sudanese government is not at all hostile to the United Nations. [The UN staff and peacekeepers] are the guests of the entire country but if there are any threats to security and stability of the country we are all in one boat. The entire country would suffer, not just one group here and there.