Botswana condemns AU stance on al-Bashir
Botswana has condemned an African Union resolution not to cooperate with the International Criminal Court in its indictment of Sudan’s president, saying it was not properly discussed at last week’s summit.
The criticism was the strongest from an African country since the resolution in favour of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir at the summit chaired by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
“The chair did not permit much debate on this matter and therefore we did not get an opportunity to put our opinion across,” Botswana’s vice president, Mompati Merafhe, said in a speech posted on the presidency website on Tuesday.
“It is our view that Africa should not try to undermine the work of the ICC simply because one head of state called Bashir has been indicted by the Court.”
The 53-member African Union says the international court’s warrant for Bashir will compromise peace efforts in Sudan’s Darfur region and wants it deferred. Bashir is accused of orchestrating war crimes in Darfur.
Estimates of the death count in Darfur range from 10,000, according to Khartoum, to 300,000, according the United Nations.
Botswana, a favourite of the West for its stable democracy and open economy, has long championed the international court.
The southern African country’s vice president said the AU summit had failed the continent by not dealing with Africa’s immediate concerns while pushing Gaddafi’s pet project — a United States of Africa.