March 4, 2009 / 8:30 PM / 9 years ago

Sudan's UN envoy invokes Macbeth to condemn ICC

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Sudan’s U.N. ambassador invoked Shakespeare’s tragedy “Macbeth” on Wednesday when he condemned the International Criminal Court’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for the Sudanese leader over Darfur.

Speaking to reporters at U.N. headquarters, Sudanese Ambassador Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem dismissed the court’s indictment of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir by recalling Lady Macbeth’s famous speech towards the end of the play.

“All perfumes of Arabia will not clean this dirt,” Abdalhaleem said. “For us the ICC doesn’t exist ... and we are in no way going to cooperate with it.”

Racked with guilt over her complicity in the murders that her husband Macbeth committed to become king, a sleepwalking Lady Macbeth tries to wash imaginary bloodstains from her hands. “All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand,” she says.

The arrest warrant for Bashir is the first issued against a sitting head of state by the Hague-based court. It stopped short of charging him with genocide. U.N. officials say the conflict in Sudan has killed as many as 300,000 people since 2003.

Reporting by Louis Charbonneau

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