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ICC to issue warrant against Sudan’s Bashir; Call for U.S. to step up

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ICC to issue warrant against Sudan’s Bashir; Call for U.S. to step up

Posted by Tom Burton on February 12, 2009
The International Criminal Court is set to issue an arrest warrant for Sudan President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes in Darfur according to separately sourced reports by the New York Times and Reuters. The reports were dismissed by Sudan. Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem, Sudan’s envoy to the UN, told Al Jazeera an arrest warrant against al-Bashir, "means nothing to us". 
 
"The anticipated arrest warrant for President Bashir is the potential game-changer the Sudanese people have been waiting for to shake up the deadly status quo that has led to millions of deaths in Darfur and Southern Sudan," Enough Project Co-chair, John Prendergast, said.
 
"President Obama has a chance to influence events in Sudan in the way his administration responds to the warrant. Working publicly for a peace deal for Darfur and privately for Bashir’s resignation will provide the necessary international leadership that has been lacking for some time," Prendergast said.
 
Enough Project  Executive Director John Norris said it is impossible to predict what will happen in the aftermath of the expected arrest warrant for President Bashir.
 
"One thing, however, is certain: the international community, including the Obama administration, has an important choice to make in this moment of opportunity.  It can pursue a credible and strategic approach to peace and justice, or it can let the situation spiral further out of control absent serious pressure from outside actors."
 
"Now is the time for the Obama administration to follow through on its promises to end the crisis in Darfur and lead international efforts toward a peaceful future in Sudan," Norris said.
 
Abdalhaleem said the Sudan Government had been hearing speculation about an ICC Indictment for the last two weeks: "We are not going to be surprised if this decision is issued today or tomorrow or if it has already been issued."
"The Obama administration, has an important choice to make in this moment of opportunity." John Norris, Enough Project Executive Director
"Because we know this court is a political court, a politically motivated decision. It will never bother us at all. It means nothing to us. We are in no way going to co-operate with this decision," Abdalhaleem said.
 
According to the New York Times’ report the decision to issue a warrant against Bashir was reached by a panel of judges in The Hague. The paper said it has been conveyed to the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, and is expected to be formally announced at the court. 
 
To schedule an interview about the implications of the Bashir indictment with one of the Enough Project’s experts, please contact:

Eileen White Read
Associate Director of Communications
eread@enoughproject.org
202-741-6376 (o)

202-641-0779 (c)