Sudan & AU break silence on Libya as death toll rises

Published on Sudan Tribune, February 23, 2011. Thursday 24 February 2011.

(KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government issued a statement reacting to events in Libya and called on the latter to exercise “self-restraint” and cease “use of force” in the face of burgeoning demonstrations against the four-decade rule of Muammar Gaddafi.

Libya continues to sink deeper into chaos as its defiant ruler Muammar Gaddafi battles to retain control of the capital Tripoli amid an international outcry over the rising death toll and mass exodus by foreigners … //

… Gaddafi, who has billions of dollars at his disposal, is one of the (African Union) AU’s largest benefactors providing along with four other countries 75% of its budget. The Libyan leader has been pushing for an African unity government for years, saying it is the only way Africa can develop without Western interference. He wanted the organization’s small executive body to be granted enhanced powers and remodeled as the African Authority. 

The AU’s statement made no reference to the issue of accountability, a contentious issue for the African bloc which has grown hostile over last few years to what it called abuse of universal jurisdiction that targeted its leaders.

The UN Security Council yesterday condemned the violence against pro-democracy protesters in Libya and called for accountability on the part of those who carried out attacks against them.

Former Liberian president Charles Taylor is currently being tried by Special Court for Sierra Leone while ex-Chadian leader Hissène Habré is awaiting trial in Senegal.

In 2009, the Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir was charged by the International Criminal Court ICC for alleged war crimes in Darfur.

Gaddafi has lobbied the AU successfully in July 2009 to adopt a resolution barring any country on the continent to apprehend Bashir even if they were under legal obligation to do so.

Libyan deputy ambassador to the United Nations, who disowned Gaddafi, called on the ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo to investigate what he described as genocide and crimes against humanity committed by Muammar Gaddafi during the ongoing unrest.

But Ocampo said in statement today that he cannot investigate crimes in Libya unless the country’s authorities accept the court’s jurisdiction or the UNSC refers the situation to the ICC.

“The decision to do justice in Libya should be taken by the Libyan people,” ICC prosecutor said in a statement.

He said the office would act only after Libya accepts the court’s jurisdiction or the Security Council refers the situation to the court.
(full text).

Link: ICC on wikipedia: a long list to distinguish all abreviations of ICC.

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