, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 25 – The Kenya Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Kenya) has formally written to Fred Matiangi, the acting Minister for Internal Security and Attorney General Githu Muigai to arrest Sudan President Omar Al Bashir once he comes for the swearing in of President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday.
The letter drawn by Nderitu & Partners advocates cites prior arrest warrants issued against Bashir locally and internationally and Kenya’s treaty obligations.
“We have received information indicating that President Omar al Bashir is expected to be among the State guests due to attend the swearing in of Uhuru Kenyatta scheduled to take place on Tuesday,” reads the letter in part.
“We are concerned about his imminent travel to Kenya, and we have instructions from our client to formally lodge our client’s protest to his intended travel, and to request you to cause his arrest should he come to Kenya.”
In 2011, Judge Nicholas Ombija pulled a first by ruling that Bashir should be apprehended “should he set foot in Kenya in future.”
“By way of background, a warrant for the arrest of President al Bashir was issued by the High Court of Kenya at Nairobi in High Court Miscellaneous Criminal Application No. 685 of 2010. We expect, by virtue of the fact that your respective offices were part of that litigation process, that both of you are aware of these factual circumstances,” ICJ Kenya says in their letter.
When Kenya’s Constitution was being promulgated in August 2010 and Bashir attended as a state guest, the country was heavily criticized by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and foreign governments for failing to arrest him.
“We request you as the State Officer in charge of Internal Security and Coordination of Government, and as principal adviser to the Government under Article 156(4)(a) of the Constitution, respectively, and as members of the Committee to the Assumption to the Office of President, to advise the President that President al Bashir’s invitation and subsequent presence on the territory of Kenya amounts to a breach of the Constitution, the International Crimes Act, and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,” reads the letter.
The Hague-based court has issued two warrants for Bashir, one dating from March 2009 on five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes, and one issued in July 2010, on three counts of genocide.
“Apart from cooperation with the ICC as a matter of treaty obligation, the Government of Kenya and its officers are bound by Article 2(6) of our Constitution which provides that any treaty or convention ratified by Kenya shall form part of the law of Kenya under the Constitution.”
The African Union (AU) has advised its members not to pay any regard to the arrest warrant, saying that the ICC appeared to be only focussing on African leaders.
Bashir has continuously denied the charges, saying they are part of a Western conspiracy.