2009-03-13 08:20:00 Surrender to ICC, Migiro tells Bashir UN deputy Secretary General Dr Asha - Rose Migiro addresses the media in Dar es Salaam yesterday By Levina Kato Top United Nations official Asha-Rose Migiro yesterday called on Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to surrender to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has issued an arrest warrant for him. In remarks, in which she broke ranks with the official position of her home country, Tanzania, and many other African states, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General told journalists in Dar es Salaam that Mr Al-Bashir had no option but to co-operate with the court. She added: "The ICC is not a part of the United Nations Secretariat, but the UN recognises and respects its decisions as a legally instituted authority. Therefore, President Al-Bashir must cooperate with the court." Speaking at the ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs' Conference Hall, Dr Migiro said the position of the UN was that Mr Al-Bashir was bound by a resolution of the Security Council to comply with the ICC requirement. Restating a position taken by her boss, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, on the issue, Dr Migiro said the Sudanese Government and other countries must respect the ICC?s decision. She was confident that Mr Al-Bashir would cooperate with the ICC without adversely affecting the ongoing peace process and the humanitarian relief effort in Darfur. The UN's position also echoes call by a top Sudanese opposition leader, Dr Hassan al-Turabi, who was detained after calling on Mr Al-Bashir to surrender to the ICC. He was released last week after two months in detention. Speaking after his release, Dr al-Turabi, 76, said he had not changed his view that the President should give himself up to the international court. "Of course, no doubt about it,? Dr Turabi said at his home, where scores of well-wishers had gathered, adding: ?The more justice we have...the more we improve our international relations." The ICC issued the arrest warrant for President Al-Bashir on March 4, for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. But Khartoum immediately dismissed the move, as thousands of Sudanese poured into the streets in protest. And Mr Al-Bashir's allies, including the African Union and Russia, said the move could further undermine the peace efforts. Announcing the decision, ICC spokeswoman Laurence Blairon told a press conference: "He (Bashir) is suspected of being criminally responsible for intentionally directing attacks against an important part of the civilian population of Darfur." The African Union, Tanzania, other African nations, and the Arab League have opposed the bid to arrest Mr Al-Bashir, warning that it would jeopardise the peace process in the troubled Darfur region in southern Sudan. Tanzania has reiterated its opposition to having the Sudanese President indicted over alleged genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. Last month, Deputy Foreign minister Seif Ali Iddi told reporters that Tanzania would not support the ICC move. "There are very many problems in Darfur, which the international community ought to immediately address instead of concentrating on plans to arrest the Sudanese leader," he said, adding: "As this will not solve the problem." ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has accused the Sudanese leader of being the mastermind of the violent campaign in Darfur that has claimed 350,000 lives and displaced 2.5 million people. But Mr Al-Bashir dismisses the allegations, defiantly declaring that the ICC has no jurisdiction over Sudan. Last October, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Mr Bernard Membe, told ambassadors and high commissioners in Dar es Salaam that the Tanzanian Government was opposed to the plan to arrest the Sudanese leader. He said the bid to indict Mr Al-Bashir when the UN was just about to deploy the remaining 17,000 UNAMID forces in Darfur, was ill advised. For UNAMID to succeed, he added, the full co-operation of the Sudanese leader would be needed. Since arrest warrant was issued, Mr Al-Bashir has expelled a number of humanitarian aid organisations from Sudan and vowed to throw out more. Yesterday, Dr Migiro said: "It's disappointing that the Sudanese Government has barred these organisations at a time when the humanitarian effort poses a significant challenge to the country and Darfur region, in particular." She added: "We hope the Sudanese leader will reconsider his position on peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in his country." While the African Union and Arab League tried to shield Mr Al-Bashir, Dr Migiro stressed that the UN was for the upholding of peace and justice. ICC Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo first sought a warrant to arrest Mr Al-Bashir on July 14. This followed an investigation into the violence in Darfur, which he launched on June 1, 2005. More than 300,000 people have been killed, thousands raped, and millions displaced since the armed conflict broke out in Darfur in 2003. The decision to arrest Mr Al-Bashir was reached by the Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC last month. Sudanese Cabinet minister Ahmad Harun and Janjawid militia leader Ali Kushayb also face similar charges. But the issuing of the arrest warrant against Mr Al-Bashir has triggered diplomatic tension, with African countries and Arab League rallying behind him. States not affiliated to the ICC have also questioned its authority and jurisdiction. Yesterday, Dr Migiro clarified that all UN member states were bound to implement Resolution No. 1593 (2005). The resolution, which was adopted by 11 members of the Security Council against four abstentions (Algeria, Brazil, China, and the United States), referred the Darfur conflict to the ICC prosecutor. The council ruled that Sudanese Government and the other parties to the conflict must cooperate fully with the ICC prosecutor. Under the same arrangement, the AU is bound to facilitate the court's work, including the possibility of conducting proceedings in the region. The resolution stresses the need for international cooperation with domestic efforts to promote the rule of law, protect human rights and combat impunity in Darfur. Dr Turabi, President Bashir's close political and religious ally until a split in 1999-2000, had suggested that President submit to the ICC to save Sudan from sanctions and the political turmoil he feared would follow if he resisted.