BUJUMBURA – Eastern African police chiefs have turned down Southern Sudan’s request to join their cooperation. The regional police bosses, under the Eastern African Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO), have been meeting in Bujumbura, Burundi where Southern Sudan had forwarded their admission request.
In an interview with The New Times yesterday, EAPCCO Secretariat Legal Officer, Michael Wiso, said that international law restricts them to allow Southern Sudan to be registered as a member state.
“It is an interim government and not a sovereign state under the international law,” Wiso said.
He said that a legal sub-committee had earlier recommended the admission under the spirit of the cooperation.
“We did not want to appear as if we are favouring the relations with greater Sudan, but since Southern Sudan has not been recognised internationally as a sovereign state until six years, they can not legitimately be given the status of the independent countries,” Wiso said.
A Khartoum delegation also rejected the request saying they didn’t want Southern Sudan to be recognised as a country representing itself.
However, EAPCCO says Southern Sudan will always be allowed to attend their meetings as an observer to borrow some experiences from member states.“Leaving them in a corner will not assist given that they emerging from a war,” Wiso observed.
He added: “We did not want to appear declaring Southern Sudan as an independent state out of Sudan.”
The issue became a burden to the police chiefs and resolved to pass it on for their respective internal security ministers to discuss it at a political level.
Rwanda’s Internal Security Minister, Musa Fazil Harerimana told The New Times yesterday: “It is supposed to be done both by the international community but we as ministers only discuss issues tabled before us on a political level by the police chiefs and the Southern Sudan issue is just direct.”
Burundi’s Police chief and the incoming chairman of the EAPCCO, Maj. Gen. Alain Guillaume Bunyoni, said the council of the police chiefs re-affirmed their membership is restricted to recognised sovereign states.
“We have therefore resolved to reject their application,” Bunyoni said.
A breakthrough in the peace process between northern and southern Sudan after a civil war, the entire government in April 1997 agreed to allow a referendum on self-determination for the south.The referendum gave the southern people the option of either unity or independence.
“They are still in a transition process and are just learning under the armpit of the greater Sudan. We are allowing them to observe our activities but we are also upholding the international relations between us, other countries and Sudan,” Wiso said.
The responsibility of the legal office is to technically interpret laws and advise the EAPCCO chair and the secretariat.
The ministers and police chief were attending the 7th and the 9th EAPCCO annual general meeting respectively.
The meeting was also attended by government and non government organisations and the UN agency on drugs.Ends