The Ethiopian government opposes the issuance of an arrest warrant for Sudan’s president by the International Criminal Court, said a government spokesman. Earlier today, the court announced they would try to arrest President Omar Hussein al-Bashir for crimes committed in Sudan.
The court issued an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir for the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him for genocide.
President Isaias Afewerki told a Sudanese envoy two days ago that his government would also refuse to support any effort to arrest Sudan’s head of state. Eritrea’s ministry of information issued this statement on a government web site on March 2. Ministry officials did not respond to a VOA request for an interview today.
A former Ethiopian dissident takes another view. Lencho Lata, a former Oromo Liberation Front deputy secretary general who spent more than 10 years living in Sudan when he was active in Ethiopia’s rebel movement, told the Afan Oromo service’s Nigusu that it is a necessary step for justice. He spoke from Sweden, where he now lives. “It is good news that leaders who order bloodshed in their own countries can be brought to justice.” However, he added, “It is a shame for African leaders to be unable to resolve their problems within the region.”
Ethiopia’s State Minister of Government Communications Affairs Ermyas Legesse told VOA’s Solomon Abate that the warrant “obstructs the peace process, especially in Darfur.” He said, “…this decision undermines the peace process in the region…We believe that it will have a negative impact. We do not endorse this decision.”
Ermyas indicated the Ethiopian position has also been the position of the African Union and the Arab League.“Our government’s stand is that it will get in the way of the peace process.” He said that his government will endorse the statement being released today by the African Union.
For more reaction and analysis from the Horn of Africa and from around the world, listen to today’s broadcasts in Afan Oromo, Amharic and Tigrigna.