|Africa News Digest
Africa Slams British Empire's ICC
July 28 (EIRNS)The 53 African heads of state and leaders at the African Union (AU) summit that took place in Kampala, Uganda, July 19-27 adopted a final resolution that took a strong position against the arrest warrants of the private, British-financed International Criminal Court (ICC) against Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. The final resolution advocated non-cooperation with the ICC. It also condemned the conduct of the ICC prosecutor.
Despite a concerted effort during the summit to soften the previous AU opposition to the ICC, according to reports, in the end, the resolution was changed to a more hard-line stance in opposition to the ICC's attacks on Bashir in particular, as well as against Africa more generally.
The Resolution stated that the Summit "reiterates its decision that AU member states shall not cooperate with the ICC in the arrest and surrender of President al-Bashir of the Sudan." The Resolution also expressed "concern over the conduct" of the ICC prosecutor, and accused him of "making egregiously unacceptable, rude and condescending statements in the case of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of the Sudan and other situations in Africa."
During the summit, the AU Commission chair, Jean Ping, slammed the ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno 0campo. Ping said that the ICC prosecutor "does not care" if his actions jeopardize peace in Sudan. He also opposed the ICC's idea of opening an office in Africa. He asked, "Why are they only interested in opening an office in Africa?" and asserted that the ICC is "bullying" Africa.
While the AU Summit was taking place, 13 heads of state at a separate regional African summit demonstrated their determination to settle the Darfur conflict by advocating negotiations between the Bashir government and the Darfur rebels. Held in N'Djamena, Chad, a Sahel group of nations issued a statement which "rejected all" ICC allegations against Bashir. The head of that organization, the Community of Sahel-Saharan states (CEN-SAD), Mohamed al-Madani al-Azhari, on July 22 stated: "Darfur continues to be a source of concern. CEN-SAD refutes all accusations against President Bashir. These accusations do not contribute to bringing peace to this part of Sudan." He added: "We declare our total support and our solidarity to Sudan and its people."
Chad President Idriss Deby Itno called on the 28 CEN-SAD member nations to back the peace process in Sudan and help solve the Darfur crisis. Bashir attended the summit. It was his first visit to a country that recognizes the ICC.
Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade and Libyan government officials, had been lobbying other countries to withdraw from the ICC. They also accused the court of targeting Africans. Wade was quoted by Sudan state media during the CEN-SAD summit as saying that charges against Bashir should be scrapped altogether.