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Bashir Indictment Poses Opportunities And Risks For Peace

This week the In The International Criminal Court (ICC) applied for a warrant of arrest for Sudanese President Omar Bashir for genocide, crime against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. These are the first charges against a head of state to be brought by the ICC. Judges will now have to weigh the prosecutor’s evidence and decide whether to issue the arrest warrant.

While the international community is expressing considerable alarm about the political consequencies of such a move, Sudan says it does not recognize the authority of the ICC.

But Nick Grono, senior analst with the Brissels -based International Crisis Group (ICG) told VOA's Akwei Thompson the ICC has jurisdiction in this case.

“The prosecutor is bringing an application against him because basically the Security Council sent the situation in Darfur to the ICC to investigate, so he’s following on that referral and that’s where the court has jurisdiction in this case.”

Grono said implementing the indictment could be a real challenge.

“If the court issues an arrest warrant in a month of two, it’s going to be difficult for them to get hold of Bashir unless he travels outside of the country to a country that might arrest him, or unless he looses power, there’s no likelihood in the short term that Bashir will be brought before the International Criminal Court in the Hague.”

On the North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Grono said the ICG sees that the indictment could pose both risks and opportunities for peace in Sudan.

“The risks are that Sudan could lash out and make life a little bit more difficult for the international operations and the comprehensive peace agreement and the Un peace keeping operation. But there is also opportunity in that Sudan may decide that it’s options are decreasing and international opinion and pressure is kind of turning against it and it may decide that this is an opportunity for it to move towards peace.”

Grono added that the indictment presents the international community the opportunity to pushing Sudan to make greater efforts to bring peace to Sudan.