Prosecuting Sudanese officials will ‘ignite more fires’: Yemen

July 14th, 2008 - 5:17 am ICT by IANS  

Sanaa, July 14 (DPA) Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said Sunday that any move by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute Sudanese officials over alleged war crimes would only “ignite more fires and instability”. “Such a decision could not serve security and stability in the region,” Saleh said in a telephone conversation with Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

Quoted by the officials Saba news agency, Saleh condemned as “unacceptable” the adoption of a “double standards policy” by the ICC towards poor countries.

The Yemeni leader was commenting on reports last week that ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo may seek a warrant Monday for the arrest of al-Bashir.

Saleh said that such an “irresponsible” move could only “complicate the situation and encourage more extremism, violence and instability in the region and the world”.

The Washington Post Friday quoted unnamed UN officials as saying that the ICC chief prosecutor may seek a warrant for the arrest of al-Bashir over charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.

If ICC judges agreed to such a request, it would be the first time that the tribunal would charge a serving head of state, though such leaders as Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia and Charles Taylor of Liberia were charged by other UN-established war crimes courts while in office.

Since 2003, at least 300,000 people have been killed in ethnic violence in Darfur, and two million people have become refugees. The conflict in Darfur began when black tribesmen took up arms against what they called decades of neglect and discrimination by the Arab-dominated Sudanese government in Khartoum.

The Sudanese government is blamed for retaliating by using proxy Janjaweed militia to carry out mass killings.

In 2003, the UN Security Council ordered the ICC in The Hague to investigate the events in Darfur.

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