March 12, 2015 / 6:24 PM / in 3 years

Sudan says not scared of global court, dismisses U.N. move

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan said on Thursday it was not scared of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and dismissed the tribunal’s move to report it to the U.N. Security Council as a sign of failure.

Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir addresses Sufi supporters during a campaign rally of the ruling National Congress Party for the upcoming presidential election, in Omdurman March 8, 2015. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

The ICC said on Monday that Sudan had failed to cooperate in its war crimes investigation of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and it would ask the Security Council to take unspecified measures in response.

In the first official reaction, Sudan information minister and government spokesman Ahmed Bilal Osman told the Sudanese Media Centre website, which has close links to state security:

“The decisions of the International Criminal Court are non-binding on the government of Sudan and the referral of Sudan’s case to the Security Council shows the failure of the ICC which is seeking punishment for Sudan.”

“The ICC is aware that it doesn’t scare Sudan,” Osman said.

The court, which investigates war crimes and grave violations of human rights, issued arrest warrants for Bashir in 2009 and 2010 over charges he masterminded war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the western Darfur province. He has long rejected the court’s authority.

In December, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she had suspended her inquiries in Sudan because the Security Council had done too little to support her efforts.

While the Security Council has the power to authorize embargoes, military action and other measures, few expect it to impose penalties severe enough to force Sudan’s government to hand over its own president.

The ICC has jurisdiction to carry out investigations in states that have signed its founding treaty and in situations that it has been instructed to investigate by the Security Council.

In 2005 the Council asked the court’s prosecutor to investigate possible war crimes in Darfur. The conflict, where mainly non-Arab tribes took up arms against an Arab-led Khartoum government they accused of discrimination, has killed thousands and displaced millions.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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