Sudan's president, accused of masterminding genocide in Darfur, might escape war crimes charges if he brings to justice two men suspected of mass killings, Western envoys said on Wednesday.
The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, asked the ICC on Monday to issue an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on suspicion of crimes against humanity.
Moreno-Ocampo accused Bashir of a campaign of genocide that killed 35,000 people outright, at least another 100,000 through a “slow death” and forced 2.5 million to flee their homes in Sudan's western Darfur region.
Sudan, China and South Africa have expressed concern that a formal indictment of Bashir could damage the stalled peace process aimed at ending the 5-year-old conflict in Darfur.
“The search for justice should not jeopardize the other priorities in Sudan,”South Africa's U.N. Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo told reporters ahead of a Security Council meeting.