BRUSSELS, March 23 – The International Criminal Court\’s 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 multi-party polls in 24 years over concerns about the way they are being organised.
President Omar al-Beshir 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 EU\’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 Beshir.
An ICC appeals chamber last month ordered a review of Beshir\’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 11-13, are a key part of the 2005 peace accord which ended two decades of civil war between the country\’s largely Muslim north and the Christian south.
They will be the first multi-party polls there since 1986 and thus the first electoral test for Beshir, who came to power in 1989 following a military coup.