International News

Closing the net around Al-Bashir

The Sudanese president Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir is subject to an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity and war crimes, and another warrant on three counts of genocide.

Despite the seriousness of the charges against him and the principle of cooperation with the ICC that should bind all the states party to the Statute of Rome, some of Al-Bashir's African counterparts appear to be willing to protect him. The African Union (AU) has adopted resolutions calling on states not to cooperate in the arrest of the Sudanese president, and in recent months Al-Bashir has been able to travel freely and been granted the honours usually conferred on heads of state, to countries including Chad and Kenya.

However, some optimistic signs seem to suggest that he has a dwindling number of supporters outside his own country and is not welcome everywhere in Africa. Botswana and South Africa have already stated their firm intention to cooperate with the Court in his arrest. There is at least one other African country where it appears that the Sudanese president will have to think twice before visiting. Indeed, despite initially being invited to visit, Al-Bashir finally failed to attend the fiftieth anniversary celebrations of the independence of the Central African Republic, which took place in Bangui on 1 December. He is also not expected to attend the summit between the European Union and the AU which will take place in Libya this month. According to various sources, the Libyan authorities have withdrawn the invitation they sent him last summer and asked him not to take part to avoid diplomatic problems with European Union representatives.

More information at:
Coalition for the International Criminal Court