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AU Judge warns over ICC Al Bashir case

NAIROBI, July 16 – Newly appointed African Union (AU) Judge Githu Muigai has urged for caution as the International Criminal Court (ICC) reviews accusations against Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir over the Darfur genocide warning it may compromise peace. 

Professor Githu Muigai, who was appointed judge of the AU Court late last month, said there are imminent repercussions that may result from the accusations levelled against the Sudanese leader. 

Justice Muigai said the ICC should be careful to ensure any decision by the Hague-based tribunal is not regarded as ‘meddling’ into the sovereignty of the Sudan under the international law.

He uttered that prosecution was not always the answer to stabilising a region.  

“As a student of African politics and diplomacy, I know how fragile peace is, and sometimes prosecution may not be the answer to stabilising a nation,” said the Professor. 

He added that the ‘removal of a key player in the politics of the strife-torn country would create a fragile situation’, which according to him may not be easy to manage. 

“I am of course concerned that if there is any evidence of criminal wrongdoing, individuals should be arrested, charged and go through the justice process.” 

The Judge was speaking to Capital News, where he also called for justice for people wrongly implicated in criminal acts. 

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ICC has charged President al Bashir with genocide and other crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Darfur. 

On Monday, the ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo sought Bashir’s arrest for alleged genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in the strife-torn region. 

The prosecutor said “forces and agents” under the control of Bashir had killed at least 35,000 civilians outright, and caused the “slow death” of between 80,000 to 265,000 people, who were displaced from their homes by fighting. 

“Bashir committed, through other persons, genocide against the Fur, Marsalis and Agawam ethnic groups in Darfur, by using the state apparatus, the armed forces and militia/Jonahed,” the document stated. 

Other charges facing the president include murder, extermination, and the forcible transfer of 2.9 million civilians, torture and rape.

In addition to seeking the arrest warrant, the prosecution wants to seize the president’s property and other assets.

Early Tuesday, the US government said it was bolstering security for its staff in the volatile country, amid apprehension reports that the move may result in a violent backlash.

It stopped short of giving its backing to the efforts by the ICC prosecutor, with officials opposing it for fear that it might also persecute US troops overseas for political reasons.

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