Sudan leader al-Bashir rejects International Criminal Court

Türkiye Materials 20 August 2008 19:25 (UTC +04:00)

Istanbul (dpa) - Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir rejected Wednesday the possibility that the International Criminal Court (ICC) may charge him in connection with the conflict in Darfur, dpa reported.

" Sudan is an independent country with its own strong justice system. Our judges can decide for themselves on penalties, even for a president," said al-Bashir.

Al-Bashir was speaking on the edge of a Turkish-African summit in Istanbul. He said that Sharia law reigns in Sudan and he cannot accept any court that doesn't follow its rules.

Last month the chief prosecutor of The Hague-based ICC, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, asked the court to issue an arrest warrant for al- Bashir on suspicion of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity over the conflict in the western Sudanese province of Darfur.

Khartoum has long been accused of using the Janjaweed to commit atrocities against Darfur's black population and suppress the rebels, who took up arms against what they called decades of neglect and discrimination by the Arab-dominated government.

The United Nations puts the number of dead in the five-year conflict at 300,000 and the number of displaced at 2.5 million.

As well as al-Bashir the summit in Turkey has attracted heads of state or government from eleven African countries as well as representatives of international organizations. The summit ends Thursday.

Turkey has been criticized by human rights groups for allowing al- Bashir to attend but a spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry said that as long as there isn't a final decision over the warrant "we see no need to act."