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As Ocampo Seeks to Arrest Sudan Minister, Won't Say UN Shouldn't Work With Him

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 15 -- As International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo began a press conference Thursday at the UN, Sudan's Permanent Representative Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman spoke to the Press, criticizing Ocampo as "nonprofessional" while praising new UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous for the picture he painted of an "enhanced situation in Darfur."

Inner City Press asked Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman if his country's Defense Minister, whom Ocampo has asked the ICC judges for a warrant to arrest for war crimes, still engaged with the UN peacekeeping mission under Ladsous' control.

Yes, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman said, the minister "closely works" with UNAMID in Darfur and UNISFA in Abyei.

Inner City Press jogged to Ocampo's press conference and asked what he thought of this. Ocampo distinguished between him seeking an arrest warrant, and the judges indicting the minister. So Inner City Press asked, if and when the minister is indicted, did Ocampo think the UN should engage with him?

Ocampo responded that there is a UN policy of dealing with ICC indictees only as a matter of "necessity." But since presumably under this policy the UN at least twice flew ICC indictee Ahmed Haroun in a UN helicopter between Southern Kordofan and Abyei, Inner City Press asked Ocampo if day to day peacekeeping mission business could be called a "necessity" by the UN.

You have to ask them, Ocampo said. Some call this punting, or refusing to be critical of the UN Secretariat.

Inner City Press asked Ocampo about the process by which six new ICC judges are being elected, which has included France offering to support a candidate ruled "unqualified" in exchange for a vote for the French candidate Bruno Cathala, formerly the registrar of the ICC.

Ocampo declined to comment on that, or on the advisability of putting unqualified judges on the ICC.

At an event near the UN on Wednesday evening Ocampo was called the "former prosecutor of the ICC." One would think that on his way out, he could offer candid recommendations of what could be done better. But so far, not. Watch this site.

Fires in Abyei in Sudan, Ladsous and SOFA not shown

Footnote: Ocampo met with Cote d'Ivoire's Prime Minister Soro, who is accused of involvement in reprisal killings. Was this meeting to clean up Soro's reputation, or did Ocampo view him as a possible defendant? When Inner City Press asked him Thursday morning, Ocampo wouldn't say. We'll see.

Inner City Press asked Soro about reprisal killings in Abobo, and the killing of IB, reported leader of the "Invisible Commandos." Soro responded grandly that he is here as Prime Minister, to speak to the Assembly of State Parties of the Rome Statute. Only at the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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