Chief Mediator for Darfur reportedly tells UN Security Council that warrants for al-Bashir may “compromise” peace processMarch 26, 2009 # 10:42 pm # Human Rights, International Organizations # No Comment
An International Criminal Court arrest warrant for Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir may have compromised the quest for peace in Darfur, a U.N. and African Union mediator said on Thursday.
The official, Djibrill Bassole, called on the U.N. Security Council to heed the concerns of the AU, an organization grouping 53 African countries that has urged the council to use its power to suspend the ICC’s proceedings against Bashir.
Bashir was charged by the court with war crimes in Darfur.
Bassole was addressing the 15-nation council, which later appealed to Sudan to reconsider a decision to expel some aid groups in Darfur after the ICC move. Khartoum has accused the groups of supplying information to the ICC, which they deny.
Bassole, who represents the U.N. and AU jointly, said his task of bringing together Sudan’s government and Darfur rebel groups for talks was “currently blocked by the intransigent positions of the warring parties” following the ICC move.
“In all likelihood, the process to find a political solution to the crisis in Darfur has been significantly slowed and even compromised,” he told the closed-door meeting, according to a text of his speech seen by Reuters.
Bassole, a former Burkina Faso foreign minister, suggested the Security Council heed the African Union’s position.
The AU and Arab League have urged the council to use its power under Article 16 of the ICC statute to defer court action. That call is backed by China and Russia, but Western states holding vetoes in the council have rejected it for now.
French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert reaffirmed the Western view. “We respect the position of the African Union,” he told reporters. “It doesn’t mean we have to share the same position. … We think that for the moment there is no reason to accept any Article 16 solution.”