Plea for delay in Bashir’s indictment

THE African Union will ask the UN Security Council to suspend action for a year on an indictment of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Darfur genocide charges, Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister said last night.

The African Union will make the request to allow progress in negotiations to end the five year old conflict in Darfur, Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister Ojo Maduekwe told journalists at the end of an emergency meeting of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council.

“Our concern is the timing and how this could impact on the peace process in Sudan,” said Maduekwe.

If Al-Bashir were removed from power and arrested, “the whole place could turn into one huge graveyard. That could happen”, Maduekwe said.

The gathering was called to discuss International Criminal Court Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s July 14 indictment of Al-Bashir on charges of waging a campaign of genocide and rape in Darfur. The statute that set up the court allows the UN Security Council to pass a resolution to defer or suspend for a year the investigation or prosecution of a case.

The council can renew such a resolution.

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