July 14, 2008 / 6:31 PM / 11 years ago

Sudan's Bashir says ICC has no jurisdiction

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said on Monday the International Criminal Court had no jurisdiction in Sudan and added that its charges were lies, in his first comments since the court accused him of genocide and war crimes.

“From the beginning we said we are not a member of the court ... the court has no jurisdiction over Sudan,” Bashir said in comments carried live on Sudan state television.

“Whoever has visited Darfur, met officials and discovered their ethnicities and tribes ... will know that all of these things (including ethnic cleansing) are lies,” he added.

Bashir was speaking ahead of the signing of Sudan’s new election law on Monday. At the ceremony Bashir, wearing traditional dress, was shown dancing with other ministers as a Sudanese band played.

The election law was expected to pave the way for Sudan’s first free elections in 23 years, due in 2009, but analysts have warned the ICC warrant could remove the incentive for Bashir to hold a democratic vote and relinquish power.

The ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on Monday accused Bashir of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes including torture and murder and asked the court to issue a warrant for his arrest.

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