From: Biniam Tekle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Mar 04 2010 - 08:53:50 EST
Kenya invites Bashir to IGAD summit as he challenges world to arrest him
Thursday 4 March 2010.
March 3, 2010 (WASHINGTON) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir
today received an invitation to participate in an extraordinary summit of
the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to be held in Nairobi
The Kenyan foreign minister Moses Wetangula delivered the invitation from
his boss president Mwai Kibaki during a meeting in the Sudanese capital with
his counterpart Deng Alor. Wetangula was accompanied by Ethiopian minister
of foreign affairs Seyoum Mesfin.
Alor said that the visit came as part of an ongoing effort by IGAD to review
the progress on the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement
(CPA) and preparations for the upcoming elections in April.
He said that IGAD is concerned over the CPA implementation and relations
between the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and Sudan People Liberation
Movement (SPLM) which controls the South.
The Sudanese top diplomat also disclosed that his government requested a
rescheduling of the IGAD summit to from March 9 to a date after the
elections. However, it is not clear if IGAD heeded to the request.
Kenya which is a signatory of the Rome Statute treaty which forms the basis
of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has an obligation to arrest Bashir
given an outstanding arrest warrant for him issued a year ago on charges
related to crimes committed in Sudan’s western region of Darfur.
Furthermore, the ICC judges are currently mulling a request from the
prosecutor to open a high profile investigation into post-election violence
events in 2007 and 2008.
Today the ICC prosecutor filed a brief with the Pre-Trial judges in response
to a clarification requested on the nature of the violent acts committed and
proof that it can be classified as crimes against humanity with links to
state as part of organizational policy.
The Kenyan public is eagerly awaiting the judges’ decision on a case that
has received their overwhelming support.
The ICC prosecutor met last year with Kenyan President Kibaki and Prime
Minister Raila Odinga and asserted their desire to cooperate fully with the
court in its work.
Bashir addressing NCP supporters in the Sudanese capital said that he will
continue to travel worldwide despite the warrant accusing world powers of
standing behind his indictment.
“They are liars, hypocrites…this [my destiny] is not in the hands of the US
or the UN and we will not kneel before them like others did” the Sudanese
“We do not fear them and we will continue to travel because death can be
through fever or malaria or a traffic accident but a happy death is to die
as a martyr to join my fellows who were martyred” he added.
The Sudanese head of state managed to maintain ability to travel regionally
to countries such as Ethiopia, Egypt, Eretria, Libya and going as far as
Zimbabwe and Mauritania, none of which are ICC members.
But Bashir has also turned down several invitations over the past year to
attend events in Uganda, Nigeria, Venezuela, Denmark, Turkey, South Africa
The African Union (AU) has gave full backing to Bashir in its summit last
year and decided that no African nation will cooperate with the ICC in
apprehending him even if party to the Rome Statute though some countries
have later dissented from this resolution.
Last year in a joint press conference with US Secretary of state Hillary
Clinton, foreign minister Wetangula defended the AU wanted the UN Security
Council (UNSC) to invoke its powers under Article 16 of the Rome Statute to
suspend Bashir’s indictment for a year.
“The AU does not and has not and will not say that President Bashir is
innocent, because we have no capacity to say that. He has been investigated,
he has been indicted,” Wetangula told reporters
“Nobody will stand in the way of President Bashir being arrested and
prosecuted, but for now, the AU’s position is that let’s see what internal
mechanisms can be done. I don’t think the AU is asking for too much,” the
Kenyan foreign minister said.
Wetangula did not say whether Kenya, an ICC member, is prepared to arrest
Bashir if he was to visit despite the AU resolution.
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