Press Conference by Permanent Representative of Sudan on International Criminal Court's Arrest Warrant against President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir

4 March 2009

Press Conference by Permanent Representative of Sudan on International Criminal Court's Arrest Warrant against President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir

4 March 2009
Press Conference
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

press conference by permanent representative of sudan on International Criminal

Court’s arrest warrant against president omer hassan al-bashir

The Sudan’s top diplomat at the United Nations this afternoon condemned the International Criminal Court’s decision to have President Omer Hassan al-Bashir arrested for war crimes, calling it “an insult to justice” and a reflection of the Court’s purpose as a “tool of imperialism”.

At a Headquarters press conference this afternoon, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad, Permanent Representative of the Sudan to the United Nations, stressed that his country would not be bound by the Court’s rulings, which it viewed as politically motivated.  Its verdicts reflected the kind of “Euro-American justice” that had “destroyed Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza”.

Likening Luis Moreno-Ocampo of the International Criminal Court to a political activist, he said the Chief Prosecutor was being used as a tool by the United Kingdom, United States and France to destabilize and dominate the Sudan.  The Court’s decision to call for President Bashir’s arrest had come as no surprise to his Government, because the former Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, had himself recommended that course of action last October.

Asked to explain the reason behind those countries’ interest in the Sudan, he expressed the belief that their sights were trained on the Sudan’s oil and land wealth, and that the United Kingdom and France harboured a desire to revive their colonial dreams.  One of those three Powers had destroyed a pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan on the basis of faulty information.  “Lies have become a weapon of mass destruction in our situation.”

He described events in Darfur as a traditional conflict over water and land, not unlike those taking place in other parts of the world.  The turmoil was being “blown out of proportion” to justify intervention in the Sudan’s domestic affairs by “warmongers” and “money-makers” bent on destabilizing the countryThe 300,000 deaths often cited by the media were both incorrect and “very much inflated”.

He went on to challenge journalists to recall whether they had seen any television footage from Darfur equalling the carnage seen in Gaza or Afghanistan.  “Those who hurried some days ago for the conference on the reconstruction of Gaza, they pledged to pay about $5 billion to reconstruct the damage and destruction of Gaza.  Did anybody ask who was accountable for this damage and this destruction?”

Asked whether the Government of the Sudan would support the Court’s indictment of members of Sudanese rebel groups, he said it would not wish any of its citizens to be tried by that body, adding that the country’s legal system was capable of handling such cases.  The Sudan has not ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

He said President Bashir’s popularity had risen steadily following the Court’s decision, and numerous friendly nations had rallied behind the Government.  The Council of Ministers of the League of Arab States had endorsed a strong statement supporting the Sudan, and the African Union was likely to do the same tomorrow.  African States parties to the Rome Statute had already metin Addis Ababa to discuss their respective relationships with the Court.  “It is not only through litigation that justice is established.  You have a model in South Africa, through our own traditional measures in the continent, to reach justice even without going to the Court.”

Mr. Mohamad quashed any suggestion that the arrest warrant would hamper the President’s movements, saying the Government had no qualms about the President’s performance of his duties, whether at home or abroad.  “Many countries [...] who criticize this move by the Court were all saying in one voice that it is politically motivated, that it is infringing on the sovereignty of Sudan, that it is targeting unnecessarily the leadership of Sudan.”

He emphasized that the Government would continue to work towards peace in Darfur, despite announcements by rebel leaders of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) that they would not negotiate with the Government.  “We will endeavour to make peace inclusive and to conclude successfully the Doha process,” he added in reference to peace talks hosted by Qatar in February.

Arguments by some countries for a deferral of the International Criminal Court’s indictment of President Bashir under Article 16 of the Rome Statute had gone unheeded, he pointed out, observing also that the United States Government had negotiated immunity for its soldiers by invoking Security Council resolutions.  However, the President of the Sudan was to enjoy no such immunity.  “ America is an opportunist country.  They want to use the International Criminal Court without becoming a member.  They use the Court to exempt their soldiers and they use Security Council resolution 1593 (2005) to exempt it from any jurisdiction.  This is double standards in its worst shape.”

[In adopting that resolution, the Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, deciding also that nationals, current or former officials or personnel from a contributing State outside the Sudan that is not a party to the Rome Statute shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of that contributing State for all alleged acts or omissions arising out of or related to operations in the Sudan.]

Mr. Mohamadsaid the relationship between the Sudan and the United Nations was unlikely to change as a result of the new developments.  The Organization had two missions and a large presence of specialized agencies in the country.  United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had not explicitly called on the Sudan to comply with the arrest warrant, and a statement released by the Office of his Spokesperson merely suggested that the Sudanese Government address issues of peace and justice, as stipulated by resolution 1593 (2005).

Asked for his reaction to reports that the Court had benefited from the cooperation of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) and the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), he said the Organization had denied those allegations.  UNMIS had arrived in South Sudan after the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and its presence had no connection to events in Darfur.  Meanwhile, UNAMID had a distinct mandate to help Sudanese parties implement the 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement without prejudice to the role and responsibilities of the Government.

Mr. Mohamad had no comment as to whether the International Criminal Court ruling had prompted the Sudanese Government’s decision to revoke the licences of six non-governmental organizations to operate in the country.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.