Why U.S. Supported ICC on Arrest Warrant For Sudan's Omar al-Bashir

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What is the Obama Administration's official position on the International Criminal Court's March 4, 2009, issuance of an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir? According to Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations:

The United States supports the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) actions to hold accountable those imageresponsible for the heinous crimes in Darfur. We remain determined in our pursuit of both peace and justice in Sudan. The people of Sudan have suffered too much for too long, and an end to their anguish will not come easily. Those who committed atrocities in Sudan, including genocide, should be brought to justice.  U.N. Security Council Resolution 1593, which referred the crimes in Darfur to the ICC, requires the Government of Sudan and all other parties to the conflict to cooperate fully with the ICC and its prosecutor and urges all states and concerned regional organizations to cooperate fully.
The United States expects restraint from all involved – the Government of Sudan, armed rebel groups, and others. No one should use the ICC’s decision as a pretext to incite or launch violence against civilians or international personnel. The safety and security of all civilians, international personnel, and UN and African Union peacekeepers in Sudan must be respected. We will continue to work with all parties for the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement to bring an end to the conflict between North and South Sudan. The U.S. urges all parties to engage seriously with the Joint Chief Mediator of the UN and the African Union, Djibril Bassole, as he works to halt the hostilities in Darfur and to forge a political settlement that will bring lasting peace, justice, and security to the people of Darfur.

The U.S. has not ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It has also withdrawn its original signature. However, when he was a U.S. Senator, Barack Obama, the U.S. President, said the U.S. should be a signatory to the treaty and abide by it.

Meanwhile, according to Gerald Warner of the London Daily Telegraph, "America helped defeat a proposal that the warrant for Bashir should be suspended for 12 months - which would have been a welcome respite for the soup kitchens of Darfur. This is a policy change of considerable significance." See "Barack Obama may subject US troops to International Criminal Court."

For more information on the ICC, see the "Basic Legal Texts" that governs rules of evidence and other legal procedures. It's quite comprehensive.

Note: This article was first posted at The U.S. Foreign Policy Monitor & Review, a blog dealing specifically with U.S. foreign policy.

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