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Cablegate: Haroun Speaks Out On the Icc and Darfur

VZCZCXRO8724
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1453 2591406
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161406Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8527
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001453

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE, SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREC KPKO AU PHUM UN SU

SUBJECT: HAROUN SPEAKS OUT ON THE ICC AND DARFUR

1. (SBU) In a interview which appeared in the September 15 edition
of independent Sudanese daily Al-Rai Al-Aam's special political
supplement, war crimes suspect and State Minister for Humanitarian
Affairs Ahmad Haroun lashed out at the International Criminal Court,
calling his indictment a cynical and politically-motivated attempt
to target the Sudanese government. ICC chief prosecutor Luis
Moreno-Ocampo acted on the orders of Britain, the US and France, he
claimed.

2. (SBU) Saying that he was "free to travel," Haroun downplayed the
effects of the ICC arrest warrant. Moreno-Ocampo was not prosecutor
general for the entire world, he said, and the legitimacy of the ICC
itself was suspect. If asked to travel in his ministerial capacity,
Haroun said he would take into consideration the nature of the
travel and whether it would benefit Sudan.

3. (SBU) While admitting that there was a "problem" in Darfur,
Haroun told Al-Rai Al-Aam that the time was not right to address the
issue. As in the south, there should first be a cessation of
hostilities, discussion of security arrangements and then movement
towards a political process which would also address issues of
accountability. Exactly the opposite was taking place in Darfur,
with indictments and sanctions taking precedence over political
negotiations.

4. (SBU) Haroun also told the newspaper that the Sudanese government
rejected any dealings with the ICC. He had no special immunities
because he was a minister, he asserted. Fellow indictee and alleged
janjaweed leader Ali Kushayb had no ministerial protections, but
would not be extradited either. Ending his interview on a somewhat
gleeful note, Haroun said that while UNSCR 1706 was tantamount to
establishing an occupation force in Darfur, UNSCR 1769 represented a
victory for the Sudanese government.

5. (SBU) Comment: In a rather ironic turn of events, the Sudanese
government announced last week the creation of national committee to
investigate human rights complaints -co-chaired by Ahmad Haroun.
According to Anne Itto, the SPLM co-chair and senior party member,
the role was approved by both the NCP and the SPLM. Sudanese human
rights activists have denounced his appointment, accusing the
government of blatantly thumbing its nose at the ICC. Whether this
represents an act of defiance, a grievous lapse of judgment or part
of the usual internal struggle for power, it certainly does not bode
well for the government's nascent efforts to confront human rights
abuses in the country. End comment.


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