International prosecutor pushes for arrest of al Bashir
The International Criminal Court's prosecutor said Thursday organizations like the African Union and League of Arab States can help arrest Sudan's President Omar al Bashir, who is indicted for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the war in Darfur, dpa reported.
Some governments that are parties to the ICC have already barred al Bashir from visiting or attending meetings in their territories. But international warrants to arrest al Bashir have remained unfulfilled, said Luis Moreno-Ocampo.
"The legal work is done, but the crimes are going on," Moreno-Ocampo told the UN Security Council convened to discuss a six-month report on ICC activities.
"President al Bashir and his supporters are doing enormous efforts to cover up the crimes and divert attention from the international community by announcing strategies and new measures," he said.
"The African Union and Arab League are crucial to stop the crimes, alleviate the humanitarian situation and provide stability to the Sudan, he said.
Al Bashir has been barred from attending African Union summits, he said.
The ICC has asked Khartoum to also surrender two officials - Ahmad Muhammad Harun and Ali Kushayb - who were involved in the ethnic war in Darfur. ICC judges had issued in May a judicial decision informing the council that Sudan failed to cooperate in the arrest of the two officials.
Moreno-Ocampo's briefing to the council in New York is mandatory every six months. But it was not expected that the council would take any immediate action about the arrest warrants.
"The government of Sudan, as the sovereign territorial state, has the primary responsibility and is fully able to implement the warrants issued by the court," he said in the report to the council. "It has not done so. The matter is in the hands of the UN Security Council."
The ICC is supported by a strong coalition of 2,500 civil society organizations in 150 countries.
"Any lack of cooperation with the ICC threatens to undermine the authority of the Security Council, which referred the situation in Darfur to the court in 2005," said Tanya Karanasios, the programme director of the Coalition for the ICC. "We urge the council to reiterate its support to justice for the victims of Darfur."
The war in Darfur that pits Khartoum against African rebel groups has killed over 300,000 people since 2003, the UN said. More than 2 million Darfurians have been displaced or become refugees.