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AU says to send delegation to lobby UN Security Council to defer Bashir warrant
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09:11, March 06, 2009

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The African Union (AU) said Thursday it will send a delegation to lobby the UN Security Council to defer an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for one year.

The AU Peace and Security Council held an emergency meeting on Thursday to coordinate measures in the aftermath of the Bashir warrant.

In a communique issued after the meeting, the council requested AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping "to urgently take all the steps required to dispatch a high-level delegation to New York to directly engage the Security Council."

On Wednesday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued the arrest warrant for the siting Sudanese president. In July last year, ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo accuses al-Bashir for his alleged role in what he called genocide in Darfur.

The chief prosecutor requested the warrant for the Sudanese president. The Sudanese president dismisses such allegations as a Western conspiracy.

The AU has since July last year been lobbying the Security Council to delay the arrest of al-Bashir for one year. The Security Council, which, under the UN Charter, has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security in the world at large, has the power to suspend ICC investigation or prosecution of a case for up to one year at a time, according to the Article 16 of the Rome Statute that set up the world tribunal.

In the communique, the council accused the Security Council of failing to consider the request made by the AU to implement the provisions of Article 16 of the ICC's Rome Statute.

"It deeply regrets that, despite the risks posed by the ongoing ICC process to the search for lasting peace and stability in Sudan and in the region, the Security Council has failed to consider with the required attention the request made by the AU to implement the provisions of Article 16 of the ICC statute," said the communique.

The council once again called on the Security Council "to assume its responsibilities by deferring the process initiated by the ICC," reiterating the AU's determination "to continue to do whatever is in its power to mobilize the necessary support."


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