The Sudanese government has called for a special meeting of the Arab
League group of countries to discuss the International Criminal Court's
(ICC) investigation into war crimes in the Darfur region of Sudan. As Derek
Kilner reports from VOA's East Africa bureau in Nairobi, the move comes
amid a growing number of reports that the International Criminal
Court's chief prosecutor will announce an indictment of Sudan's
president on Monday.
The International Criminal Court's (ICC)
chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is scheduled to deliver a news
conference on Monday where he is expected to announce one or more new
indictments in an investigation into the conflict in the Darfur region
of western Sudan.
No names have yet been revealed, but there
is growing speculation that Moreno-Ocampo will seek the arrest of
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for his role in war crimes.
Arab League says it has received a request from the Sudanese government
to hold a meeting on the issue, and has begun consulting foreign
ministers from the member countries.
On Friday, Sudan's
ambassador to the United Nations, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem, denounced
the possibility of an indictment against President Bashir.
is a criminal move," he said. "A criminal move that should be resisted
by all peace wishers and peace loving countries in the world."
has refused to hand over the two Sudanese citizens currently wanted by
the ICC, Ali Kushayb, a leader of the government-backed Janjaweed
militia, and humanitarian affairs minister Ahmed Haroun. Sudanese
officials have indicated that the government will continue to reject
requests to turn over any Sudanese citizen to the ICC.
activists have welcomed the possibility of charges against President
Bashir, which would mark the first time the court has sought charges
against a sitting head of state. Other international tribunals have
brought charges against leaders still in office, including Serbia's
Slobodan Milosevic and Liberia's Charles Taylor.
officials and humanitarian workers have expressed concern that an
indictment of President Bashir could antagonize the Sudanese government
and invite retaliation that could complicate the deployment of a
U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force that is already behind schedule,
and threaten the security of aid operations on the ground in Darfur.
peacekeepers were killed on Tuesday when gunmen ambushed a patrol in
north Darfur. The attackers have not been identified, but some
observers suspect they belong to the Janjaweed militia.
have also cautioned that an indictment could compromise efforts to
revive peace talks between the government and rebels. Abdalhaleem
indicated that such a move would damage Sudan's relations with the
"This man has come with this adventure
to take us back to square one and to destabilize the constructive
engagement that Sudan has with the international community," he said.
"This is why we are condemning it in the strongest possible terms and
we think that it is the responsibility of the international community
also to do likewise."
In June, Moreno-Ocampo said that Sudan's "entire state apparatus" was involved in organizing crimes against civilians in Darfur.
U.N. says the conflict has killed between 200,000 and 300,000 people
since 2003, and displaced over 2 million. Sudan's government says no
more than 10,000 have died.