4 March 2009

Sudan: Statement by Salva Kiir on the ICC Announcement


Dear Compatriots, Fellow Sudanese,

Tomorrow, the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) will deliver its decision on the accusations against President Omer Hassan Ahmed Bashir. This is what the Court had announced earlier on. In tomorrow's expected announcement, the ICC may issue the warrant of arrest or it may throw out the case against the President. Tomorrow's announcement may not mark the end of the ICC issue. This matter may hang on for sometime but it certainly will not mean the end of our country, the Sudan or government. We must move beyond tomorrow. And we will move beyond tomorrow. This episode should not be viewed as a crisis but as an opportunity to consolidate peace, justice and stability in our country.

In order to move beyond tomorrow, we have to continue doing those things that will maintain peace and stability in our country. We must continue to assure the security and the safety of every citizen and foreign resident in the Sudan. I trust that our armed forces and law enforcement agencies shall respect the basic rights of the people, maintain law and order and uphold and abide by the constitution. We will continue to provide security and protection to foreigners living in our country or tourists visiting it. We must continue facilitating the peace keeping missions of the United Nations, the African Union and all humanitarian agencies. We will continue to carry out our daily work normally. We must and will continue to treat ourselves and foreigers with that legendary hospitality and civility for which the Sudanese are renowned. We must continue to do those things that ought to be done in order to lift our country out of the current dire financial and economic straits. We must continue to play our role as a responsible member of the community of nations.

To my Comrades in the SPLM, I say the following,

During such difficult times, or situations of uncertainty, members of any political party look to the Party for direction and guidance. This is natural. It is therefore perfectly normal to expect your Party to provide such direction and clarity in the current circumstances.

In addressing the issue of ICC last July, I had appeared for calm and restraint. I do reiterate the same now. You will recall that all meetings of the SPLM Political Bureau held after July 2008 have kept the ICC issue on the agenda. The SPLM has maintained a consistent position since then. We have advised engagement with the ICC and cooperation with the international community so as to resolve the issue before it assumes massive proportions. We advised engagement with ICC because this is a legal matter that we believe need to be addressed legally. In the spirit of Sudan's foreign policy enshirined in the CPA and the constitution, we strongly advised cooperation rather than confrontation with the international community in order to secure goodwill for political resolution of all the root causes of the problem that led to the accusations. We believed then, as we do now, that this good-will is necessary and good for the Sudan. It is necessary in case of the Court decision that may affect the country negatively. This remains our position today and we will stand by it.

I do not know what the Court will announce tomorrow. But in the event of the court agreeing with the Chief Prosecutor, the SPLM will work with its partners in the NCP on how to politically and diplomatically handle the decision of the Court. The two Parties shall seriously and genuinely address the conflict in Darfur, the full implementation of the CPA, pursue national reconciliation and healing process. We will work with other political parties, African Union and the international community, to achieve these objectives. We will do this because we believe it will serve the interest of peace and stability in the country. In taking this route, the SPLM is committed to justice without compromising peace and stability and the destiny of our nation. Therefore, we appeal to the international community to continue maintaining peace and supporting post conflict reconstruction in Sudan shall not only hurt the Sudan itself but also have serious repercussions in the region. Morevoer the international community already has its hands full with respect to the security problems in the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes region for it to add.

Fellow Compatriots,

SPLM believes in the freedom of speech and of expression within the bounds of the law. This has been our position all along. Tomorrow, after annoucement of the decision of the ICC, some people may react by expressing themselves in various ways. Some of these expressions may include public demonstrations. It is the right of those who wish to demonstrate to do so, as long as they do it in a peaceful and lawful manner. However, I do not believe that demonstrations in themselves are the most effective way of handling the current issue of the ICC indictment. Consequently, I advise SPLM members and other citizens to refrain from demonstrations that may heighten tensions, intimidate other citizens, residents, or frustrate in any manner ongoing diplomatic and political efforts to defuse the crisis.

To my brothers and sisters in the National Congress Party,

To have the head of your party accused of serious crimes is un-nerving to say the least. But Brother Bashir is not only the head of the National Congress Party, he is also President of the Sudan. As such, all Sudanese are hurt by the accusations against him and therefore wish to see a peaceful end to the crisis. This may happen tomorrow if the court dismisses the case or it may not happen tomorrow should the court decide there is a case to answer.

It is no secret that politicians and public figures are used to being cast in harst and adverse light. Yet being accused of committing genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity are not common accusations. These charges will profoundly affect any human being no matter whether they are well founded or not. It is therefore heartening that Brother Bashir has borne this burden with fortitude. As we await the ICC announcement tomorrow, I trust that brother Bashir will rise up to the challenge and react with statesmanship. I appeal to the rank and file of NCP and Sudanese of all walks of like to give him the necessary support during this difficult time.

Thank you all.

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