, NEW YORK, Aug 27 – Kenya should bar entry to or arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Human Rights Watch said shortly before the genocide-accused leader was seen in Nairobi Friday for a ceremony marking Kenya\’s new constitution.
"Kenya will forever tarnish the celebration of its long-awaited constitution if it welcomes an international fugitive to the festivities," Elise Keppler, senior counsel in the International Justice Program at the New York-based rights monitor, said in a statement.
"Even worse, hosting Bashir would throw into question Kenya\’s commitment to cooperate with the ICC in its Kenyan investigation."
The Hague-based International Criminal Court has issued two arrest warrants for Bashir for alleged war crimes and genocide committed in the western Sudanese region of Darfur.
Kenya has ratified the Rome Statute requiring it to cooperate with the ICC.
Kenya itself is the site of an ongoing ICC investigation into crimes committed following the country\’s general elections of December 2007.
ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said in May that he would pursue six Kenyans over the 2007-2008 poll unrest which claimed 1,200 lives and present a case before the year\’s end.
"Whether Kenya allows a suspected war criminal into Kenya is a test of the government\’s commitment to a new chapter in ensuring justice for atrocities," said Keppler.
"The Kenyan government should stand with victims, not those accused of horrible crimes, by barring Bashir from Kenya or arresting him."