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Sudan Warns Uganda Over Violating AU Decision on ICC
July 12, 2009 (KHARTOUM) — The Sudanese government warned Uganda that it must to honor the African Union (AU) decision not to cooperate International Criminal Court (ICC) in the apprehension of the Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.

Al-Bashir is wanted by the ICC on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Last week the ICC prosecutor filed an appeal for the inclusion of genocide charges that were dropped by the judges for lack of evidence.

Last week the African Union (AU) summit in Sirte, Libya adopted a resolution instructing its ICC members not to cooperate in arresting Al-Bashir despite their legal obligations to do so.

Botswana is the only country to publicly dissent from the AU decision saying it will nab Bashir if he reaches its territory.

But on Friday Uganda issued a statement appearing to backtrack from the AU resolution it endorsed.

“As a signatory to the Rome Statute, Uganda Government re-iterates its commitment to the Statute and support to the ICC. This position is shared by the other African States Parties to the Statute who clearly expressed it during the Assembly meeting in Sirte, Libya,” the foreign ministry statement read.

“Uganda Government supports the African Union Assembly Decision….of February 2009 requesting the UN Security Council to defer the ICC indictment for twelve (12) months, in accordance with Article 16 of the Rome Statute”.

The statement made no reference to the AU decision taken in Sirte or whether Uganda will adhere to it.

The independent Al-Sahafa newspaper quoted an unidentified Sudanese official who said that any Uganda’s stance will negatively impact the latter more than it affects Sudan.

The official said that all African countries must adhere to AU decisions and any state that doesn’t do that is breaking the African consensus.

The ‘Ultimate Media’ website quoted Ugandan foreign minister Sam Kutesa as telling reporters in Kampala that the decision is viewed by many as “a manifestation of lack of respect and support for the ICC Rome Statute by African leaders”.

Kuteesa said that the AU simply wants an AU deferral to allow African countries “to investigate further on Bashir’s case such that they can give their recommendations on his indictment”.

The independent Sudanese Al-Sahafa newspaper reported that Bashir is scheduled to visit Uganda on July 26 to take part in the Ugandan-Turkish forum.

The Ugandan State Minister for International Affairs Henry Oryem Okello told Daily Monitor newspaper that Bashir will not be arrested during his visit.

Uganda’s stance on Bashir’s arrest warrant has been ambiguous despite backing AU decision criticizing it.

The Ugandan president Yoweri Musievini said last March that he wants neither to “condemn Bashir” nor “condone his actions”.

(ST)

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