Sudan accuses court of wrecking Darfur peace hopes

The International Criminal Court in The Hague issued arrest warrants for two Sudanese suspects in April last year, but Abdalhaleem reiterated that Sudan would never hand over citizens for trial.

Sudan accuses court of wrecking Darfur peace hopes
Sudan accused the International Criminal Court's prosecutor of wrecking the peace process for Darfur on Wednesday during a visit to Khartoum by envoys from the U.N. Security Council.

Sudan's U.N. ambassador said chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo was preparing a "fictitious and vicious" case against government officials that was diverting attention from last month's Darfur rebel attack on Khartoum.

"Ocampo is destroying the peace process and we demand that this man be held accountable to what he is doing to the peace process in Sudan," Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem said as the Security Council envoy met government officials.

The Security Council envoys are spending three days in Africa's biggest country, beset by decades of conflict, during a tour of African hotspots. In Sudan, they are questioning the government on Darfur and a troubled north-south peace deal.

Ocampo told reporters last week he was preparing a case against senior members of Sudan's government because Khartoum had failed to arrest a minister indicted over war crimes in the western Darfur region. He said he planned to set out his case in a report to the Security Council on Thursday.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague issued arrest warrants for two Sudanese suspects in April last year, but Abdalhaleem reiterated that Sudan would never hand over citizens for trial.

Darfur rebels took up arms in 2003, accusing Khartoum of neglecting the largely non-Arab region. International experts say the conflict has caused the deaths of at least 200,000 people. The government says only 10,000 have been killed.

The Security Council has approved deployment of 26,000 U.N.-African Union peacekeepers, but only 9,000 are on the ground.

Slim hope 

Factions accuse each other of lacking good faith in the peace process, the rebels are divided and hopes for negotiations sank further last month when the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) attacked the Khartoum suburb of Omdurman.

Abdalhaleem said the court prosecutor's move against officials was dangerous in the wake of the attack.

"Ocampo is coming with this to divert the attention (from) the JEM attack and also to give mixed signals to rebels to do it again," he said.

The court is seeking the arrest of Ahmed Haroun, former state minister of interior, and militia commander Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-al-Rahman, also known as Ali Kushayb.

Sources close to the Security Council visit said the envoys, including China's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, questioned Foreign Minister Deng Alor about Darfur. China is a close ally of Sudan.

Envoys and Sudanese officials also discussed the 2005 agreement that ended a two-decade north-south civil war. It has been strained recently by fighting in the disputed oil-producing region of Abyei.

Alor told Reuters northern and southern troops had been building up around Abyei since the fighting, but that leaders from both sides were holding talks "to diffuse the situation -- and I think we will be able to do that".

The United States suspended negotiations with Sudan on normalising ties, saying northern and southern leaders were not interested in meaningful peace.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Haziran 2008, 16:45
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