AU chief not happy with ICC prosecutor, accuses the court of double standards

July 23, 2010 (Kampala) — African Union chief Jean Ping on Friday said the recent indictment of Omar Hassan al-Bashir by International Criminal Court (ICC) on genocide charges interfere with peace efforts in Sudan.

"We have to find a way for these entities to work together and not go back to war," Jean Ping told reporters in the Ugandan capital, Kampala. This is what we are doing but (Luis Moreno) Ocampo doesn’t care. He just wants to catch Bashir. Let him go and catch him”, he added.

The Sudanese president is wanted by International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Ping criticized court ruling against al-Bashir on three counts of genocide saying ICC chief prosecutor don’t care about the peace. Ping also accused the court of acting against African interests.

"We are not against the ICC. There are 30 African countries that are part of the ICC… But we need to examine their manner of operating. There are double standards," Ping said.

"There seems to be some bullying against Africa”, he added.

The African Union head urges the world to follow the example of former South African president Nelson Mandela when he pardoned all prisoners who committed crimes during apartheid era. Ping said the world applauded Mr. Mandela for his decision to free those prisoners.

"Now why do you not applaud us when we are trying to work with (former South African president Thabo) Mbeki in Sudan?" Ping asked. "Is it because people in South Africa were coming from Europe?"

Ping jokes about the recent decision by the ICC to release Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga after ICC chief prosecutor refused to disclose the person who investigated the case.

"The ICC has just said President Bashir committed genocide in Darfur. On which basis, I don’t know. I simply want to tell you that while the ICC was accusing President Bashir of genocide, they were (being told) to release Thomas Lubanga," he joked.

Omar al-Bashir who consistently refused to recognize court rulings went to Chad on Wednesday to attend three days summit of the Sahel-Saharan states. Chad is a member of Rome Statue but declined to implement the warrant.

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