'Africans should support al-Bashir arrest'

NEW YORK - African leaders should support a bid to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on war crime charges, Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu wrote in a New York Times editorial yesterday.

NEW YORK - African leaders should support a bid to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on war crime charges, Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu wrote in a New York Times editorial yesterday.

The retired archbishop said it was "shameful" that so many African leaders have rallied around Bashir, who faces a possible arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court today over alleged war crimes in Darfur.

If the warrant is granted and an arrest carried out, Bashir would become the first sitting head of state to be hauled before the ICC since the court opened in 2002.

"Because the victims in Sudan are African, African leaders should be the staunchest supporters of efforts to see the perpetrators brought to account.

"Yet rather than stand by those who have suffered in Darfur, African leaders have so far rallied behind the man responsible for turning that corner of Africa into a graveyard," Tutu wrote.

He chastised the African Union for calling on the UN Security Council to suspend the court's proceedings.

"I regret that the charges against President al-Bashir are being used to stir up the sentiment that the justice system - and in particular the international court - is biased against Africa.

"Justice is in the interest of victims." - Sapa-AFP

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