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President rejects outside trials for Sudanese

4/3/2005 8:34pm

KHARTOUM, April 2 (Reuters) - Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Saturday said Sudan would not allow any national to be tried in courts outside the country, after the U.N. voted to send those accused of war crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for trial.

In a speech broadcast on Sudanese radio, Bashir said the Sudanese justice system was good enough to try any Sudanese for crimes and trials had already started for crimes in Darfur.

"We will never give up any Sudanese national for trial outside Sudan," he told the final meeting of the leadership council of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) on Saturday. The NCP dominates both government and parliament.

The leadership council of the NCP on Friday made similar comments and rejected the U.N. resolution. Sudan has not ratified the ICC.

The U.N. Security Council late on Thursday night voted 11-0 to refer alleged crimes against humanity committed during more than two years of rebellion in the remote Darfur region to the ICC.

The United States is bitterly opposed to the ICC but dropped its opposition to the resolution in return for guarantees that its citizens in Sudan would be exempt for prosecution by the ICC. The United States calls the Darfur violence, which has forced more than 2 million people from their homes, genocide.

A U.N.-appointed commission stopped short of the U.S. declaration but said heinous crimes against humanity had taken place in Darfur where tens of thousands have been killed in fighting and gave a sealed list of 51 accused to the U.N. secretary-general, recommending they be sent to the ICC for trial.

The list includes senior government and army officials, militia leaders and some rebel and foreign army commanders. The ICC prosecutor is expected to request the list and the documents gathered by the commission in the next few weeks.

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