AU: Bashir charges won't help Darfur

2010-07-14 14:58

Addis Ababa - The International Criminal Court's decision to accuse Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir of genocide will not solve the problems of war-torn Darfur, the African Union said on Wednesday.

The AU has repeatedly voiced opposition to the ICC arrest warrant against Bashir, arguing that it will jeopardise efforts to resolve the Darfur conflict.

"Nothing has changed. This charge does not solve the problem in Darfur. In fact it is the contrary," AU chief Jean Ping told AFP.

"We have no problem with the ICC and we are against impunity. But the way prosecutor Ocampo is rendering justice is the issue," he added.

The Hague-based court on Monday added three genocide counts to its charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity issued in March last year against Bashir, the first ever for a sitting head of state.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo accuses Bashir of personally instructing his forces to annihilate the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups.

The United Nations says up to 300 000 people have died since conflict broke out in Darfur in 2003, when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated regime for a greater share of resources and power.

Sudan's government says 10 000 have been killed.