Saturday, June 07, 2008

ICC bid to arrest Sudan suspect failed

UNITED NATIONS, (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court planned to arrest a Sudanese official indicted for crimes in Darfur when he went on a Muslim pilgrimage last year, but he heard about the scheme and evaded capture, an ICC spokeswoman said on Friday.

The idea was to divert a plane carrying Ahmad Harun, Sudan's minister for humanitarian affairs, as it was heading for Saudi Arabia, where the annual Muslim haj pilgrimage is held in Mecca, spokeswoman Florence Olara said.

The pilgrimage, which Muslims must perform at least once if they are able, took place last year from Dec. 17-21.

"Using cooperation from some states, the plane would have been diverted," Olara said. "There was a country ready to receive the plane once it was diverted, but he was tipped off and got off the plane. So he never went to Mecca."

Olara declined to name the countries involved and gave no further details of how the operation would have worked. But she said Saudi Arabia was informed of the plan. Read more >>>>>>>>>>

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