Developing nations worried by Sudan indictment

A group of almost 120 developing nations have expressed ”deep concern” about the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) effort to try Sudan’s president for war crimes, saying it could further destabilise the African country.

The Non-Aligned Movement, with 118 member states plus observers, also said they would support any moves in the United Nations and elsewhere to defuse the situation in a statement late on Wednesday after a ministerial meeting in Tehran.

Tension has been rising in Sudan’s troubled western Darfur region over moves by the ICC to get an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for genocide and war crimes.

Non-Aligned Movement ministers said the ICC move against Sudan’s ”honourable” president ”could seriously undermine the ongoing efforts aimed at facilitating the early resolution of the conflict in Darfur and the promotion of long-lasting peace and reconciliation in the Sudan”.

The statement added that the action ”could be conducive to greater destabilisation with far-reaching consequences for the country and the region”.

The UN Security Council is set to renew a mandate for peacekeepers in Darfur on Thursday in a resolution that will echo African concerns at moves to indict al-Bashir.

Sudan said on Tuesday it hoped to petition the World Court for an advisory opinion on whether the ICC had jurisdiction over a country that is not a party to it.

Sudan says with support from the Arab League, the African Union, Muslim nations and Non-Aligned Movement, it would get a majority in the UN General Assembly needed to ask court for a ruling.

The Non-Aligned Movement ministers said ”they decided to support steps in the United Nations and elsewhere aimed at defusing this new and dangerous situation and preventing its recurrence”.

The Non-Aligned Movement was set up in 1961 to group many then-newly independent nations who wanted to avoid being caught up in Cold War politics between Moscow and Washington. It has struggled to stay relevant since the Soviet Union collapsed. — Reuters

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