Pursuit of Sudan’s Leader Incites Debate
UNITED NATIONS — The International Criminal Court’s pursuit of Sudan’s president set off fierce debate at the United Nations on Friday, with the Sudanese ambassador accusing the court of trying to destabilize his country and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressing concern about the safety of United Nations personnel in the African nation.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief prosecutor at the court, is expected to announce on Monday that he is seeking an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan in connection with the widespread killing of civilians in the Darfur region since 2003. The United Nations estimates that the conflict has left 300,000 people dead and 2.7 million displaced, and some diplomats worry that the Sudanese will retaliate against the prosecutor’s move by evicting the relief agencies that the civilians depend on to survive.
In anticipation of Monday’s announcement, United Nations officials and diplomats said, tense meetings were held throughout the day, with China, Russia and the African Union arguing that the indictment should not proceed, and the United States and Europe countering that the judicial process had to be allowed to work independently.