AU seeks hybrid court, reconciliation commission on Darfur

Friday, October 30, 2009

Lagos - The African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council have endorsed the recommendations of the AU High-Level Panel on Darfur (AUPD) which seeks the creation of a hybrid court to end the Darfur crisis.

The council also endorsed the need for a reconciliation commission among other things.

The council, chaired by Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua, gave the endorsement at its 207th meeting in Abuja on Thursday.

The AUPD, which is headed by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, had recommended a hybrid court, comprising of Sudanese and judges outside the country, to adjudicate on crime, truth, justice and reconciliation.

Mbeki told reporters at a news conference after the summit that the AU High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) would be working closely with the Sudanese government and other stakeholders to ensure the implementation of the recommendations.

The AUHIP is composed of Abdulsalami Abubakar, a former Nigerian head of state, Pierre Buyoya, former president of Burundi and Mbeki.

Mbeki promised that his team would work closely with the Sudanese government, the opposition and other stakeholders to ensure peace in Sudan.

Ali Taha, the Sudanese Vice-President, who was present at the meeting, commended the recommendations but called for more dialogue and scrutiny, especially with regard to the establishment of the hybrid court.

Mbeki stressed the need to work speedily on the implementation of the recommendations to achieve peace and stability in Sudan.

He said this was essential considering the general elections scheduled for April 2010.

Earlier, Ramtane Lamara, the AU Commissioner for peace and security while reading the communique, reiterated AU's call on the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the need for the deferment of the warrant of arrest on president Omar Al-Bashir in the interest of peace, justice and reconciliation.

The communique called for the strengthening of the UNAMID force while acknowledging the progress made by the group to ensure peace in that country.

It stressed the importance of the April 2010 general elections, expected to help in the democratic transformation of Sudan.

The council enjoined all AU member-states to fully support the implementation of the AUPD recommendations and the decisions reached at the summit.

While declaring the summit open earlier, Yar'Adua decried the violence in Darfur and challenged African leaders to find a quick and lasting solution to the problems in the interest of the people.

The meeting was attended by African heads of government, delegations from Qatar, China, the UN, EU and the League of Arab States.

The 15-member Council is the highest organ of the AU, with representatives from the five regional groups of the union.