Outcry against arrest move from Arab, African countries, Russia, China
Thursday 5 March
March 4, 2009 (ADDIS ABABA) -– Arab ministers opposed to the ICC arrest move against President Al-Bashir began meeting in Cairo shortly after the announcement while African Union Chairman Jean Ping also expressed deep concern over the decision made.
The Egyptian foreign minister called on the UN Security Council to "hold an urgent and emergency meeting" to defer the warrant against President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir. In Cairo also the Arab League, which is "deeply concerned" by the arrest warrant, said a high level delegation would be sent to New York for this purpose.
The Arab ministers held a meeting today, hours after the ICC made the decision, on the sidelines of a joint Arab-Southern American foreign ministers’ conference which was in session here at the AL headquarters.
Likewise, AU Chairman Ping underlined that the search for justice should be pursued in a way that would not impede or jeopardize peace.
Last summer, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union at its 142nd meeting requested that the UN Security Council invoke Article 16 of the Rome statute to defer the process initiated by ICC. The recommendation has never been brought to a vote and several permanent members of the Security Council threatened to veto the move.
The application for Al-Bashir’s arrest has prompted the executive council of the AU to schedule a discussion Thursday on the matter.
Ugandan officials declined to comment to comment on the matter, the Daily Monitor reported, but indicated that they would take the position chosen by the AU Peace and Security Council.
Earlier this week, Libya urged other African countries to remove themselves from the court’s jurisdiction. “Thirty-seven African nations that have ratified the Rome Statute will un-sign the treaty if it issues an arrest warrant for Sudanese president” Libya’s state minister for African affairs Abdul Salam Al-Tereyki told reporters in Khartoum on Monday.
Other African countries indicated disdain for the court ruling: Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade commented at a press conference that he is “disturbed to see that the International Criminal Court only judges Africans.”
The two global powers Russia and China also voiced opposition to the ICC decision. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s envoy for Sudan immediately criticized the decision.
"The untimely decision of the International Criminal Court creates a dangerous precedent in the system of international relations and could have a negative effect both on the situation inside Sudan and on the general regional situation," said Mikhail Margelov.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said "China expresses regret and worry about the International Criminal Court’s issuing of an arrest warrant against the Sudanese President," according to the official Xinhua news agency.
But Gang did not say that China is interested in pushing for an Article 16 suspension of the case; the Darfur issue was discussed last month in China between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese leaders.