Bashir ignores ICC and joins Kenyans

August 27, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 27- Sudan President Omar el-Bashir has made a surprise visit to Kenya for the promulgation of the new Constitution.

President Bashir arrived at Uhuru Park at 9.16 am and was ushered to the main dais by Tourism Minister Najib Balala.

Bashir who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged human rights violations in Darfur has limited his travels overseas.

In 2008, el-Bashir has been accused by ICC prosecutor Moreno Ocampo for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The conflict in Darfur has killed between 200,000 and 400,000 people.

The ICC issued the first arrest warrant for President Bashir in March 2009 on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The second was issued in July 2010 on charges of genocide.

Kenya is a state party to the ICC. The Rome Statute requires states to cooperate with the court, which includes the execution of arrest warrants.

Ironically, Mr Ocampo is also on the trail of perpetrators of the 2008 post-election violence in which 1,500 Kenyans lost their lives.

The Kenyan government has pledged full cooperation with the ICC in its investigation in Kenya. As recently as June 2010, the government reaffirmed this commitment at the ICC’s review conference, which took place in Kampala, Uganda from May 31 to June 11.

Although the African Union (AU) has issued a call for its members not to cooperate in the arrest of al-Bashir, African states including Botswana and South Africa have made clear that the call does not trump the obligations of ICC member states to cooperate with the court.

In addition to the warrants for al-Bashir in the ICC’s investigation in Darfur, in April 2007 the ICC issued warrants for Ahmed Haroun, then the country’s minister for humanitarian affairs and now governor of Southern Kordofan state, and Ali Kosheib, whose real name is Ali Mohammed Ali, a “Janjaweed” militia leader.

The ICC prosecutor has also issued summons to three Darfuri rebel leaders to appear for attacks on an AU base in Haskanita in Darfur.

Sudan has refused to cooperate with the ICC’s work to ensure justice for crimes in Darfur.

In June, the ICC issued a judicial finding of non-cooperation by the government of Sudan with respect to execution of the arrest warrants for Haroun and Kosheib, which have been outstanding for more than three years.


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