British lawyers, Sudanese NGO lobby African states to challenge ICC indictment of Bashir

12:15, July 25, 2010      

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British lawyers and a Sudanese nongovernmental organization are lobbying African Union (AU) members states attending AU summit here to lodge a complaint at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) challenging International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment of Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir.

Mohamed Ansari, president of the African Crisis Relief and Geoffrey Nice, barrister with Temple Gardens Chambers, London told reporters here on Saturday on the sidelines of the ongoing AU summit that several contacts had been made with African delegations and leaders.

"We are here talking to various delegations and leaders. We are very happy with the responses we have so far got," said Ansari at the media briefing attended by Rodney Nixon, another barrister with Temple Garden Chambers.

In March 2009, the ICC issued an arrest warrant against al- Bashir, accusing him of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur region and last week added another crime of genocide.

The trio wants the leaders to challenge whether it is lawful for the United Nations Security Council to refer a non state party to ICC and ICC's subsequent indictment of Bashir, a serving head of sate.

"ICJ is the world's top court. The court will be able to determine whether under international law a serving Head of State has an immunity that should protect him from the ICC process in any event and if so whether only for the time she/he holds office as Head of State," said Nice.

"Another issue is whether there is any or any sufficient evidence to sustain the charges and in particular an allegation of genocide, a charge that they assert stains the whole Sudanese nation as well as any accused," he said.

Nixon said "We want them to ask whether the prosecutor acted politically in pursuing Sudan and whether prosecutions by the ICC are in the best interests of peace and security for Sudan and the region."

AU heads of states and governments in last July during the Assembly of African Heads of States and governments in Sirte, Libya resolved that no AU country should assist the ICC in the arrest of President Bashir.

AU Chairperson Jean Ping on Friday maintained AU's position and accused ICC of playing double standards in Africa.

Source: Xinhua


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