London, Asharq Al-Awsat-The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement [SPLM] and the Justice and Equality Movement [JEM], have both stated that they refuse to have anything to do with any regional or international conference that seeks to swap justice for peace in order to protect Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
In a telephone interview with Asharq Al-Awsat from his headquarters in Paris, SPLM leader Abdul-Wahid Nur said that certain conditions must be met before supporting any international overture on Sudan. He said that security should first be established on the ground, rape and what he called genocide must be stopped, and those who were brought to Darfur region must be expelled, and the Janjawid militia must be disarmed.
Nur said: “An international conference should not be held at the expense of implementing the arrest warrant of Al-Bashir, who is wanted by the ICC.” He added: “There should be no negotiations over such issues, which must be immediately implemented. Any international conference should begin after these issues are implemented.” He said: “The proposed conference should not provide cover to Al-Bashir to prevent his arrest or preserve his regime.” He noted that the conference is not an alternative to any negotiations, but it could prepare the appropriate atmosphere after the measures he mentioned are implemented.
Nur denounced UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s statement in which he said there is a possibility of delaying the arrest of Al-Bashir if he begins domestic trials of defendants. He said: “Ki-moon’s statement was inappropriate. He knows that the ICC’s power is judicial and the case is legal. Pressure must be put on Al-Bashir and the two other wanted men, Harun [Ahmad Harun, Sudanese minister of state for humanitarian affairs], and Kushyab [Ali-Kushyab, the Janjawid militia leader], to appear before the ICC in The Hague.” He said Ki-moon’s statement may give a wrong signal to Al-Bashir to continue with his killing of civilians in Darfur. He added: “If there were a rule of law in Sudan, the war crimes and genocide would not have occurred. Ki-moon’s statement is emotional, not legal; perhaps he wanted to soften the atmosphere for Khartoum.”
For its part, JEM stressed that it rejects the holding of a regional or international conference that seeks to avert the arrest of Al-Bashir. In a telephone call from Darfur, JEM’s official spokesman, Ahmad Hussein Adam, told Asharq al-Awsat that JEM rejects any attempt at swapping justice for peace. He added: “Any regional or international party that seeks to participate with the ICC to address the situation in Darfur without consultation with us is totally rejected.” He pointed out that there are parties, which he did not name, that seek to mingle justice with peace and to exclude JEM. He added: “We are closely watching the regional moves, but holding Al-Bashir accountable in The Hague is not negotiable.”
Adam said that JEM will not participate in the Doha negotiations with the Sudanese government before the international organizations that were expelled by Khartoum in the wake of the ICC arrest warrant against Al-Bashir are returned to Darfur. He added: “The international organizations must be returned to work in Darfur and the climate of terror, intimidation, and blackmail of the displaced in Darfur, created by Khartoum, must be stopped because such measures do not encourage negotiation.”