Khartoum heaved a sigh of relief Monday when the African Union (AU) intervened on its behalf to call for a halt on indictment proceeding by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir.
African Foreign Affairs ministers meeting in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa for the Peace and Security Council meeting, requested the UN Security Council to grant a moratorium of at least 12 months against the indictments as the AU tries to find a solution to the impasse.
The ICC chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, has filed for an arrest warrant against Bashir whom he accuses of genocide and crimes against humanity against the people of Darfur.
Speaking to The New Times on phone from the Ethiopian capital, Rwanda’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Rosemary Museminali, said the decision was reached so as “to give peace a chance,” and not to jeopardize the ongoing peace process.
“The meeting concurred that there had been atrocities in Darfur and that the people there are suffering. But it also recognised that the ICC was one-sided when it came to dealing with weaker states, especially in Africa,” said the minister.
She pointed out that the indictment hanging over the Sudanese leader’s neck would hinder the peace-keeping mission in Sudan.
Rwanda has deployed over 2,500 [peacekeepeers in the troubled Darfur region. The AU’s was not the only voice raised in fighting the indictment.
The Arab League meeting in Cairo over the weekend condemned the ICC’s charges, claiming that the process was not balanced.
Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki was also apprehensive of the indictment, saying that if it went ahead it would be “counter productive.