[R-G] U.N. Council Breaks Deadlock on Darfur Resolution
critical.montages at gmail.com
Wed Jul 30 20:51:08 MDT 2008
China and Russia have been helpful, as have the African Union, the
Arab League, and the OIC.
U.N. council breaks deadlock on Darfur resolution
31 Jul 2008 00:49:31 GMT
(Adds details, background)
By Louis Charbonneau
UNITED NATIONS, July 30 (Reuters) - U.N. Security Council members
broke a deadlock on Wednesday over a resolution to keep peacekeepers
in Darfur and acknowledge worries about a possible genocide indictment
of Sudan's president, diplomats said.
The 15 council members will vote on the British-drafted resolution on
Thursday, council diplomats said. The draft, a copy of which was
obtained by Reuters, extends the mandate of the joint U.N.-African
Union peacekeeping force in Sudan's war-ravaged western Darfur region
until July 31, 2009.
The diplomats said they expected the resolution to be approved
unanimously. Sudan's U.N. Ambassador Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem told
Reuters it was an "acceptable" text.
After weeks of back-room haggling over the wording, Western council
members agreed to a compromise text that refers to concerns that
African council members, Russia, China and others have about the
International Criminal Court chief prosecutor's request for an arrest
warrant for Sudan's leader over Darfur.
The Western countries, led by Britain, the United States and France,
had resisted including any language in the resolution suggesting the
council could freeze any ICC moves on President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
They said there was no point mentioning it in a resolution to renew
the peacekeepers' mandate.
But they struck a compromise after seven council members -- South
Africa, Libya, Burkina Faso, China, Russia, Vietnam and Indonesia --
conditioned extending the peacekeeping mandate on referring to their
worries about the impact an ICC indictment of Bashir could have on the
fragile Darfur peace process.
The resolution said the council will keep "in mind concerns raised by
members" about ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo's recommendation that
Bashir be indicted for genocide in Darfur.
Moreno-Ocampo accused Bashir of orchestrating a campaign of genocide
during the five-year-old conflict that has killed 35,000 people
outright and at least 100,000 through starvation and disease, and
forced 2.5 million from their homes.
SUSPEND GENOCIDE INDICTMENT?
The resolution says council members were "taking note of their
intention to consider these matters further" -- a reference to an
African Union request that the council suspend any indictment of
Bashir to avoid harming the peace process.
Article 16 of the ICC statute gives the Security Council the power to
suspend ICC investigations or prosecutions for a renewable period of
But Western diplomats say council members backing an Article 16
suspension lack the votes to get it approved.
The draft resolution also urges Khartoum to bring perpetrators of war
crimes in Darfur to justice. Last year the ICC indicted two Sudanese
men for organizing mass killings in Darfur, but Khartoum has ignored
the arrest warrants.
The U.N.-AU peacekeeping force, known as UNAMID, has been struggling
to stabilize the situation in Darfur, an area about the size of
France, but only some 9,500 troops and police have been deployed out
of a planned force of 26,000, partly due to Khartoum's insistence that
most peacekeepers be Africans.
Adding to UNAMID's difficulties, troop contributing countries have
failed to provide badly needed helicopters and other equipment for the
The United Nations hopes to have 80 percent of the full mission
deployed by the end of the year. But U.N. peacekeeping officials say
it will be difficult to meet this target. (Editing by Mohammad
Libya, S. Africa try to block genocide indictment
Mon 28 Jul 2008, 21:04 GMT
By Louis Charbonneau
UNITED NATIONS, July 28 (Reuters) - Libya and South Africa, trying to
block the International Criminal Court from indicting Sudan's leader
for genocide, want the U.N. Security Council to prevent such a move in
a resolution extending the mandate of international peacekeepers in
The U.N. Security Council was meeting on Monday to discuss the Libyan
and South Africa proposals, which have the support of China and
Russia, after the ICC's chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, asked
the court's judges to issue a warrant for Sudanese President Omar
Hassan al-Bashir's arrest.
Moreno-Ocampo accused the Sudanese leader of orchestrating a campaign
of genocide that has killed 35,000 people outright, at least another
100,000 through "slow death" and forced 2.5 million from their homes.
The court, based in The Hague, is not expected to make a decision on
Moreno-Ocampo's recommendation for several months. But Libya and South
Africa are leading an effort to include language against any ICC
indictment of Bashir in the resolution to extend the mandate of
peacekeepers in Darfur.
Khartoum supports them. "We want the Security Council to start this
process by saying there is no case" against Bashir, Sudan's U.N.
Ambassador Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem told Reuters.
The Arab League and the African Union have expressed concern that the
ICC prosecutor's moves against Bashir could harm efforts to end the
five-year-old conflict in Darfur.
The Security Council is scheduled to vote on Wednesday on a
British-drafted resolution extending the mandate of joint U.N.-African
Union peacekeepers in Darfur (UNAMID) for one year.
Libya and South Africa, backed by China and Russia, have been lobbying
for inclusion of a paragraph that would call for a suspension of any
ICC moves against Bashir.
Council diplomats said there were several proposals under discussion.
The paragraph could say the Security Council should halt any ICC
investigation of Bashir, or that an indictment of Bashir would
undermine the peace process. It could also simply take note of the AU
and Arab League's concerns.
Western diplomats said they were all opposed to the inclusion of
language on indicting Bashir, not least because the ICC judges have
not made any decision yet.
"We don't need to deal with it in this text," U.S. Ambassador Zalmay
Khalilzad told reporters.
RUSSIA AND CHINA RELUCTANT
Under Article 16 of the ICC statute, the 15-nation Security Council
can pass a resolution suspending the court's investigations or
prosecutions for a year at a time.
Russia and China have expressed concern that an ICC indictment of
Bashir would undermine efforts aimed at bringing peace to Darfur and
have said they would support suspending any indictment. But neither
has been willing to take the lead in pushing the council to make a
move on the issue.
Council diplomats say China's decision to play a passive role, despite
its strong ties to Sudan's government, stems from its reluctance to
give prominence to its close relationship with Khartoum before the
Beijing Olympics, which open Aug. 8.
Film director Steven Spielberg embarrassed Beijing earlier this year
by withdrawing as an artistic adviser to the Olympics because of
China's policy on the Darfur conflict.
China is also a major oil customer and sells weapons to Sudan.
Abdalhaleem made it clear that even if there is no mention of a
possible indictment of Bashir in the UNAMID resolution, the issue will
not go away. Sudan has said it is ready to conduct its own trials for
crimes in Darfur and would allow international experts to inspect its
Last year the ICC indicted two Sudanese men for war crimes in Darfur,
a remote and desolate region in western Sudan, but Khartoum has
ignored the arrest warrants. (Editing by Chris Wilson)
More information about the Rad-Green