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Sudanese leader arrest warrant "against int'l law": Somali lawyers
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09:26, March 26, 2009

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A lawyers' association in Somalia Wednesday described the International Criminal Court's (ICC) arrest warrant for the Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir as "illegal and against the international law."

The statement from Somali Lawyers Association (SLA) comes as the result of a workshop held Wednesday by members of the association in the Somali capital Mogadishu and attended by Somali government officials including the Somali Attorney General Abdullahi Daahir Barre who supported the lawyers' statement.

"Since Sudan is not a signatory to the court statues and founding principles of the ICC, any ruling from such an institution is non-binding on Sudan in the eyes of the International law," the lawyers' statement said.

The SLA is based in the Somali capital Mogadishu and brings thousands of Somali lawyers who provide legal advice to both Somali government and the general public.

Thousands of Somalis took to the streets in the capital twice this month in support of the Sudanese President and to condemn the ICC's arrest warrant for the Sudanese leader who is currently touring some African countries in defiance of the arrest warrant.

The ICC issued its indictment for the Sudanese leader early this month after accusing him of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Sudanese region of Darfur where local rebels have been waging insurgency attacks on government forces.

Thousands have been reportedly killed in the fighting while hundreds of thousands of civilians fled their homes as the result of the fighting between government forces and rebel militias.

The Somali lawyers said since the ICC arrest warrant came as the latest peace talks in Doha between the government of Sudan and rebel leaders from Darfur have "borne fruit", it looks the issuance has "an ulterior motive" to destroyed what has been achieved in terms of reconciliation."

The Sudanese government has managed to strike a peace deal with the other major rebel group in the south, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), which seeks independence from the rest of the country.

The deal with the SPLA will see a referendum carried out in South Sudan to determine if the people in the region would opt for outright independence or remain as autonomous region within unified Sudan and the sharing of the national oil wealth of the Sudan.


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