The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, on Tuesday likened Sudanese elections scheduled for next month to “a Hitler election”.
The comment came the day after Sudan threatened to expel foreign observers after rejecting their call to delay the country’s first multiparty polls in 24 years over concerns about the way they are being organised.
President Omar al-Bashir issued the warning in an address to supporters in the eastern city of Port Sudan on Monday after the electoral commission decided to press ahead and stage the elections next month as planned.
The European Union’s observers on the ground are facing “a big challenge”, Moreno-Ocampo told a press conference in Brussels.
“It’s like monitoring a Hitler election,” he added.
The ICC has issued an arrest warrant for the Sudanese president on five counts of crimes against humanity, including genocide, and two of war crimes committed in Darfur — its first-ever warrant for a sitting head of state.
Moreno-Ocampo said it was the duty of the Sudanese government in the first place to arrest al-Bashir.
An ICC appeals chamber last month ordered a review of al-Bashir’s arrest warrant for alleged atrocities in the war-torn western Sudanese province of Darfur. It directed judges to reconsider their decision to omit genocide from the warrant issued in March last year, saying they had made “an error in law”.
The Sudanese legislative, regional and presidential elections, scheduled for April 11 to 13, are a key part of the 2005 peace accord that ended two decades of civil war between the country’s largely Muslim north and the Christian south.
They will be the first multiparty polls there since 1986 and thus the first electoral test for al-Bashir, who came to power in 1989 following a military coup. — AFP