Sudan invites foreign experts to check judiciary


Sudan has invited international experts to inspect its legal system to see whether it is capable of holding trials for war crimes committed in Darfur, the justice minister said today.

Sudan has launched a diplomatic campaign to counter the International Criminal Court's bid to get an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Justice Minister Abdel Basit Sabderat told Reuters that Sudan would revive its own trials for those accused of war crimes in Darfur, although he gave no date.

He said experts from the United Nations, African Union and Arab League had been invited.

"We invited them to come and see the judicial system in Sudan themselves," he said, adding that Bashir had suggested this to Arab League head Amr Moussa during his visit this week.

International experts estimate the war in the western Darfur region has killed an estimated 200,000 people and driven 2.5 million from their homes since mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the government in 2003.

Rights groups have welcomed the ICC push to put Bashir on trial, but some analysts believe it could destroy Sudan's fragile peace process.

The Arab League says Sudan has agreed to try those it thought responsible for crimes in Darfur under Arab and African observation. Both the African Union and Arab League want any indictment for Bashir to be put on hold.