AU will not cooperate with ICC on Bashi: draft

SIRTE, Libya (Reuters) – The African Union will not cooperate with the International Criminal Court over its indictment of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, according to a draft of an AU resolution.

The African Union has said the warrant would compromise peace efforts in Darfur and the 53-member organisation wants a deferment of the indictment, covering war crimes carried out during fighting in Sudan’s Darfur region.

The draft for an AU summit, seen by Reuters, said: "(The African Union) decides that in view of the fact that the request by the African Union has never been acted upon that AU member states shall not cooperate pursuant to the provisions of Article 98 of the Rome Statute on the ICC…or the arrest and surrender of African indicted personalities."

The draft will be discussed by African Union leaders on Thursday or Friday at their summit in Libya.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki is chairing an AU panel charged with helping to bring peace to Darfur by making recommendations to the AU’s Peace and Security Council as an alternative to the ICC indictment.

International experts say 200,000 people have died and more than 2.5 million have been driven from their homes in the remote western region since mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the government in 2003. Khartoum puts the death toll at 10,000.