Thursday, February 05, 2009

Sudan UN envoy slams Costa Rica over Darfur remarks

Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. (Photo/REUTERS)United Nations (Reuters) - Sudan's U.N. envoy on Thursday blasted Costa Rica as a "banana republic" after its ambassador said there was no justification for suspending any war crimes indictment of the Sudanese president over Darfur.
"The issue here is bigger than the small minds ... of some ambassador who talked with you just some minutes ago," Sudanese Ambassador Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem told reporters after a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Sudan.

He said the Costa Rican envoy was trying "to inflame and inflict damage" on the stalled Darfur peace process.

Speaking afterward to Reuters about Costa Rica, Abdalhaleem said, "It is a banana republic."

His Costa Rican counterpart, Jorge Urbina, who is in his second year as an elected member of the 15-nation council, told reporters he saw no justification for Security Council intervention to suspend any indictment of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for suspected war crimes in Darfur.

The chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Luis Moreno Ocampo, asked the court's judges last year to issue an arrest warrant for Bashir on suspicion of orchestrating a campaign of genocide in Darfur.

U.N. diplomats say the judges will most likely decide in favor of indicting Bashir and expect the decision to be announced later this month. If Bashir is indicted, Sudan has urged the council to use its power to suspend the prosecution in the interest of getting a lasting peace deal for Darfur.

Urbina said the idea that peace and justice might be incompatible was "absolutely false." He compared the discussion of Bashir and Darfur to the war in the former Yugoslavia when some argued against indicting suspected war criminals.

"At that time, very often politicians, diplomats and analysts were arguing that justice was interfering in the path to peace," he said. "We learned that it was different."

'Crazy Prosecutor'

Abdalhaleem was clearly furious about the comparison.

"We need no lessons and lectures from ambassadors like the Costa Rican," he said. "He has no ... justification whatsoever to appear before you and to talk about Article 16 and the need to leave this crazy prosecutor do what he's planning to do."

He was referring to Article 16 of the ICC statute, which gives the council the right to suspend ICC prosecutions.

U.N. officials have repeatedly expressed concern there might be a spike in violence in Darfur if the ICC indicts Bashir. Sudan has promised to continue cooperating with U.N. peacekeepers but has warned the world body there might be widespread public outrage across the country.

Abdalhaleem said permanent Security Council members Russia and China and other non-permanent members support invoking Article 16. Diplomats say the council is divided on the issue.

The Sudanese envoy also spoke disparagingly about any future indictment of Bashir, saying it would be like giving "birth to a dead rat that is smelling and no use at all."

U.N. officials say as many as 300,000 people have died and more than 2.5 million have been driven from their homes since mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against Khartoum in 2003, accusing it of neglecting the development of the region.

No comments:

Related posts