UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on Friday pressed the Sudanese government to arrest President Omar al-Beshir who stands accused of Darfur war crimes and crimes against humanity.
“The government of Sudan has the responsibility to arrest him (Beshir),” Moreno-Ocampo told the UN Security Council, citing a legal obligation stemming from the UN Charter and UN resolutions.
The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Beshir at Moreno-Ocampo’s request last March but since then the defiant Sudanese leader has made at least seven trips outside Sudan.
Moreno-Ocampo further told the council that the Sudanese government “has also the duty to arrest” Sudanese ex-minister Ahmad Harun and Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb, both also accused by the ICC of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
He said the recent designation of Haroun as governor of the South Kordofan province “contravenes the resolutions of this council.”
“We are at a crossroads,” the prosecutor later told reporters. “There’s a chance to stop the violence (in Darfur). Crimes have to be stopped.”
But Sudan’s UN Ambassador to the UN Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad once again made clear that “We are not going to cooperate with this politically-motivated court (the ICC).”
He lambasted Moreno-Ocampo as a “mercenary of destruction and death” and a “real threat to peace and stability in Darfur.”
“The prosecutor has outlived his usefulness and has become a liability for his own promoters,” the Sudanese envoy, with Moreno-Ocampo at his side, told reporters.
The United Nations says more than 300,000 people have been killed and more than two million displaced since the Darfur conflict broke out in 2003, when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated regime for a greater share of resources and power.
The Sudanese government says 10,000 people have been killed.