The African Union urged the International Criminal Court on Friday to suspend its indictment of Sudan’s president on genocide charges, saying it could jeopardize any peace process in Darfur.
The court’s chief prosecutor has accused President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir of committing genocide and crimes against humanity in a campaign against tribes in Darfur involving killings, rape and deportation.
The head of the AU Peace and Security Council said Friday that members unanimously supported delaying the indictment process for a year so that officials could negotiate peace in the western Sudanese region. “There is a solidarity shown toward the president of Sudan, unanimously,” Ramtane Lamamra of Algeria said.
The ICC hasn’t decided on issuing a warrant for Bashir.
At least 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been forced from their homes in five years of fighting in Darfur. Bashir is also accused of unleashing militias to target civilians, rather than rebels.