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France -Sudan president must respect ICC decision
July 14, 2008 / 4:26 PM / 9 years ago

France -Sudan president must respect ICC decision

(Adds Kouchner, Ban Ki-moon quotes)

PARIS, July 14 (Reuters) - French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said on Monday the Sudanese president must respect the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) after its prosecutor charged him with masterminding genocide in Darfur.

ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has asked the court to issue an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, but a decision on this might not be made for some months.

"It is a decision of the International Criminal Court and President Bashir must respect it," Kouchner said at a joint news conference with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

"We must respect justice," the minister added. "We know what the consequences might be, but we are supporters of this international court and we know that it is not possible to challenge its decisions."

The ICC prosecutor says Sudan’s armed forces and the militia they support killed up to 35,000 people while 2.5 million others suffered a campaign of "rape, hunger and fear" in refugee camps.

Sudan is not a party to the court and has denied genocide in Darfur. It says it will ignore the announcement.

Asked if he feared that an arrest warrant might provoke a backlash in Sudan, Kouchner said: "I hope not."

Ban repeated his demand that Sudan ensure the safety of all United Nations personnel and property in the African state.

"I hope that the Sudanese will address this issue wisely, with full cooperation from the United Nations," he said. (Reporting by Francois Murphy; editing by Crispian Balmer)

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