Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir arrives in Khartoum, after attending the African Union Summit in Johannesburg, June 15, 2015. © AFP
Press TV has interviewed Abayomi Azikiwe, a Detroit-based editor of Pan-African News Wire, to ask for his take on a call by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on the sidelines of the African Union Summit in Johannesburg. A rough transcription of the interview follows.
Press TV: What do you make of this whole affair where a sitting head of state was first stopped from leaving a foreign country where he was invited first of all and then the court ruled that he should be arrested yet he left?
Azikiwe: There are two major issues involved in this. First of all this harassment and prosecution of the Sudanese president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, has been going on now for nearly a decade. The International Criminal Court was established by what was known as the Rome Statute and only the groups that are signatories to the Rome Statute are bound to abide by its regulations. The major criticism against the International Criminal Court is that it only targets African heads of state and African rebel leaders. The real culprits in terms of crimes against humanity, wars, regime change and genocidal conflicts are not being targeted by the International Criminal Court; there has been no indictment against George Bush, against Barack Obama, against Tony Blair, David Cameron or the others. So this is clearly a biased effort, plus it also demonstrates the fact that even within the South African judicial system, there are elements who in fact are not working in the interest of Africa. President Bashir was invited there as part of the African Union Summit. That takes priority over any court that is based in the Netherlands, which is in Europe, which is a former colonial and slave-owning nation.
Press TV: Indeed! Also the facts put forward about the whole issue with Bashir is the situation in Darfur. Now wouldn’t that warrant some sort of an action on the part of the International Criminal Court? Is the International Criminal Court justified in pushing this arrest warrant considering the situation in Darfur?
Azikiwe: No, because there is no substantial evidence that crimes against humanity, let alone genocide, has been committed in the western region of Sudan known as Darfur. The problems in Darfur were inherited from the legacy of the British imperialism, plus there is outside interest involved, the United States as well as Israel, that arms, finances, and coordinates many of these rebel groups in western Sudan. So these are the elements that need to be analyzed. Sudan used to be the largest geographic nation-state in Africa until 2011 when the country was partitioned at the behest of the United States, Britain, ans Israel. This is a further effort to Balkanize the country by breaking off the western region of Darfur.