13 July 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has emphasized to Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir the independence of the International Criminal Court, amid reports that ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is preparing to seek an indictment against the African Head of State. During a telephone conversation yesterday with Mr. Al-Bashir, Mr. Ban stressed that the UN Secretary-General does not have any influence on the ICC Prosecutor. He also indicated to the President that he was concerned by a declaration made by the Permanent Representative of Sudan which linked the initiative of the ICC Prosecutor with the two UN peacekeeping operations deployed to Sudan. Mr. Ban told a news conference last Thursday that he was not in a position to mention anything about the impending indictment until there was an official announcement by the ICC. “In principle, I believe that peace and justice should go hand in hand. Justice can be a part of the peace process, but peace without justice cannot be sustainable,” he added. “But I will have to assess the whole situation when there is an announcement by the ICC.”During their conversation, the Secretary-General also voiced his grave concern about the scale and brutality of the deadly 8 July attack on a joint patrol of the joint UN-African Union force in Darfur, known as UNAMID. He asked the President to investigate the circumstances of the attack, which left seven peacekeepers dead and 19 wounded.