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On ICC, Letter Targets UN's d'Escoto, No Bashir Interpol Request, Obasanjo Critiques ICC

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, March 23 -- As Sudan's President Omar al Bashir defies the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for war crimes by flying to Eritrea, one of many African countries angered by the ICC's indictment, the President of the ICC's State Parties Christian Wenaweser has written a scathing letter to Miguel d'Escoto Brockman, the President of UN General Assembly, for his comment that the ICC is "racist."

  Wenaweser, the Ambassador to the UN of tiny Liechtenstein, tells d'Escoto that his comments are "factually wrong and detrimental to a constructive discussion," in a letter Inner City Press has obtained and now puts online, here [Page 1  Page 2]

   In a press conference last week, d'Escoto noted that all of the cases brought by ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo have been in Africa. Inner City Press on March 20 asked Ocampo if he intends to bring any non-Africa cases, for example in Sri Lanka where UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has said war crimes are being committed by both the Tamil Tigers and the government. Ocampo replied that Sri Lanka is not a party to the ICC -- neither is Sudan -- and went on to say he is "guilty" of "caring about Africans."

   The African Union, it seems, would prefer Ocampo take his caring elsewhere. While Ocampo bragged of Bashir to the media on March 20 that "I will get him," sources tell Inner City Press that it has been conveyed to the ICC that if an attempt is made to apprehend Bashir at this time, the African Union members which are state parties to the ICC will drop out en masse, and deal the ICC a serious if not fatal blow. If Bashir travels to an upcoming conference in Doha and no attempt at apprehension is made -- Ocampo on March 20 told reporters that Bashir would be grabbed in international airspace -- some will see the AU threat having effect.

UN's Ban and PGA d'Escoto, ICC and Obansanjo not shown

   As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and senior officials attended a meeting with Interpol on March 23, Inner City Press asked top UN Peacekeeper Alain Le Roy about Bashir - Interpol connections. No, he said, we just asked them and they [Interpol] said the ICC has not yet made any request" about President Bashir. Whether this has anything to do an African Union threat is not known.

Footnote: Inner City Press at the UN's noon briefing on March 23 asked for any response by Ban Ki-moon or the Secretariat to comments by Ban's envoy, and former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obansanjo to BBC that he does not take at face value the ICC's indictment of Bashir, and would have to see more proof. 

   Ban's Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq emphasized that while Obasanjo will be representing Ban in upcoming meetings, he does not speak for the UN regarding Sudan. Inner City Press also asked in the briefing how and how much Obasanjo is paid by the UN, just as Inner City Press and an Italian media outlet asked last week how much Romano Prodi is paid. Neither question has been answered.

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

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

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Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

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