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Tim Witcher (AFP) – Dec 12 2010

UNITED NATIONS — The International Criminal Court faces a new battle of wills this week with Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir even as its top prosecutor says the wanted leader is increasingly encircled.

Bashir, who faces ICC warrants for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, has been invited to a summit in Zambia on Wednesday and to attend a festival in Senegal later this month.

ICC statutes dictate that any member country should arrest him if he visits. Bashir is defiant, however, the African Union supports him, and this year he has been to Kenya and Chad, both signatory countries which refused to detain him.

“President Bashir will continue to travel, nobody will be able to restrict him,” Sudan’s UN ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman said.

Following ICC complaints and some international pressure, some diplomatic doors have closed, however.

An October summit of an East African group had to be moved from Kenya to Ethiopia, a non signatory, so that Bashir could go. Sudan boycotted an AU-European Union summit in November because of European threats to walk out and a visit to Central African Republic this month never went ahead.

South Africa and Uganda said they would arrest him if he went there.

“He is not under house arrest, he is under country arrest,” ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said as court signatory countries met at the United Nations.

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See Also Bashir’s canceled trip to Zambia, New York Times Dec 15 2010

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Sudan Tribune

eptember 16, 2010 (KHARTOUM) – A meeting of the Arab league foreign ministers today endorsed a resolution reaffirming its position in rejecting the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir for war crimes and genocide allegedly committed in Darfur.

An Arab Ministerial Committee on the affairs of the Sudan expressed solidarity with Sudan and face of the ICC’s decisions and called annulling the warrants noting that Sudan is not a member of this Court.

The committee which is comprised of Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Libya, Qatar, Sudan, UAE, Oman and Syria slammed “attempts to politicize the principles of international justice and used in the erosion of State sovereignty , unity and stability”.

The ICC’s first-ever warrant against a sitting head of state was issued for Bashir in March 2009 on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The second was issued in July 2010 on charges of genocide.

The United Nations says up to 300,000 people have died since conflict broke out in Darfur in 2003, when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Bashir’s Arab-dominated regime for a greater share of resources and power.

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The Associated Press, June 19, 2010

Two men suspected in a deadly 2007 attack against African Union peacekeepers in Darfur have voluntarily surrendered to the International Criminal Court to face war crimes charges, the court said Wednesday.

Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus are accused of commanding a 1,000-strong rebel force in the assault Sept. 29, 2007, on an AU base in the troubled region of western Sudan.

Prosecutors say 12 peacekeepers were killed and eight wounded, while a large amount of equipment was destroyed at the Haskanita base in northern Darfur.

Sudan’s government and rebel troops have blamed each other for the attack.

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OTJR has recently produced a new debate series on International Justice In Africa: http://www.csls.ox.ac.uk/otjr.php?show=currentDebate10.

Contributions Include:

11. International Criminal Justice and Non-Western Cultures

12 April 2010 by Tim Kelsall

As the ICC Review Conference nears, it is time to consider how best to create a form of international criminal justice that is culturally and socially appropriate in non-Western settings.

10. Peace, Justice, and the International Criminal Court

19 March 2010 by Sara Darehshori and Elizabeth Evenson

This paper argues that justice initiatives, and the ICC’s work in particular, do not seriously impede peace processes. The paper shows instead that remaining firm on justice yields short- and long-term benefits that contribute toward peacebuilding.

9. What the ICC Review Conference Can’t Fix

15 March 2010 by Adam Branch

8. Root and Branch, Tree of Life: Sowing the Seeds of Grassroots Transitional Justice

10 March 2010 by Andrew Iliff

7. The Standoff between ICC and African Leaders Debate Revisited

10 March 2010 by Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai

6. The Contribution African States Can Make to the ICC Review Conference

10 March 2010 by Valentina Torricelli

5. Understanding Africa’s Position on the International Criminal Court

10 March 2010 by by Comfort Ero

4. The Limits of Prosecutions

10 March 2010 by Okechukwu Oko

3. Inside the Minds of the ICC Judges: Will They Give Ocampo the Benefit of the Doubt in Kenya?

10 March 2010 by Lionel Nichols

2. A Note on State Policy and Crimes Against Humanity

10 March 2010 by Larry May

1. International Justice in Africa – Debate Summary

10 March 2010 by Lydiah Kemunto-Bosire

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ICC Warrant a Pain in the Neck for Bashir (The Daily Nation – Kenya)

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir seems to have enjoyed his year as fugitive head of state. Recent boasts and threats would indicate that. A little humility might help.

An interview with German magazine, Der Spiegle, published a week ago today; President Bashir commended the International Criminal Court, ICC. The court last year issued a warrant for his arrest over the Darfur conflict. “My popularity in my home country has unexpectedly multiplied through this warrant.” That’s “a favour which I would never have dreamt of.”

President Bashir remains popular in the North. It’s a different matter in the South. Come next January, the region will hold a referendum on secession or unity with Sudan. Results would provide a better measure of the president’s popularity. Meanwhile, elections for presidencies, national and the south, regional governors, and assemblies, take place next month. International observers irk Mr Bashir.

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CNN International Feb 3 2010

Judges at the International Criminal Court ruled Wednesday that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir may be charged with genocide for his role in a five-year campaign of violence in western Sudan’s Darfur region.

Al-Bashir, who remains in office, has already been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo had the genocide charge on his original arrest warrant for al-Bashir, but the pre-trial judges left off the charge when they approved the warrant last March.

Moreno-Ocampo appealed in July, saying that the judges’ standard for adding the genocide charge was too high. The appellate court agreed with Moreno-Ocampo and ruled in his favor Wednesday.

The appeals judges said the pre-trial chamber had applied an “erroneous standard of proof” to the genocide charge.

The judges said they were not ruling on whether al-Bashir should be charged with genocide — only whether the charge could be added to the arrest warrant. They said it will be up to the pre-trial chamber to determine whether to add the charge to the warrant, which could take several weeks.

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Huffington Post

New York Times

Reuters

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10.22.09-

The LA TimesBy Paul Richter.

Reporting from Washington – The White House on Monday unveiled a Sudan policy that seeks a middle ground between punishing the country for its actions in Darfur and appeasing it, a step away from the get-tough policy advocated by President Obama during his election campaign.

The announcement of the new policy came after seven months of debate within the administration. It was cautiously welcomed by advocates of stringent measures to end the violence in Darfur, who expressed relief that the White House did not adopt a more conciliatory approach.

The administration wants Khartoum to end the fighting between Darfur rebels and government-backed militias. But it also is trying to persuade President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir’s government to cooperate in fighting terrorism, and in implementing a 2005 agreement that ended a civil war between the country’s northern and southern regions.

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Reuters

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