EU demands that Chad arrests Omar al-Bashir

Newstime Africa The European Union has asked the government in Chad to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir after he ignored a genocide warrant on a visit to the country. The International Criminal Court has issued two warrants against Bashir for crimes committed in west Darfur. There was an international row over the presence of genocide accused President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan as he took his place among African leaders at a regional summit here. The EU foreign chief Catherine Ashton, urged Chad to arrest Beshir and hand him over to the International Criminal Court to face genocide and war crimes charges.

According to her office, Catherine Ashton urged Chad to respect its obligations under international law to arrest and surrender those indicted by the ICC. She reminded Chad it was a signatory of the Rome Statute, the founding document of the ICC, obliging it to arrest any person on its territory wanted by the court. The Sudanese president arrived in Ndjamena on Wednesday for a summit of the Community of Sahel-Saharan (CEN-SAD) states in a giant tent erected for the gathering. Apparently, the government of Chad has insisted it will not arrest the Sudanese leader, with whom it is engaged in a bid to repair deeply strained diplomatic ties after years of proxy warfare.

The African Union, of which Chad is a member decided not to cooperate with the first arrest mandate issued against the Sudanese leader in March 2009. Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ahmat Mahamat Bachir was reported to have said that Bashir had nothing to fear. “We don’t depend on injunctions from international organisations,” he said. The Associations for the Defence of Human Rights (CADH), a collective of six organisations, demanded Ndjamena seize Beshir and urged Chadians “to oppose his stay by all legal means.”

According to CADH member Maxime Naguilem  ”Chad shows that it favours impunity in letting Bashir come to Ndjamena. We can’t ratify conventions and then trample them underfoot.” A Sudanese opposition politician Toko Manasse, president of the National Convention for Peace and Development in Chad, said that welcoming Bashir “Chad is suggesting to international opinion that it is complicit in what has happened in Darfur and in eastern Chad,” where some attacks have been blamed on Sudanese militias. Luis Moreno-Ocampo the ICC prosecutor, said that Bashir will be brought to justice, in spite of Chad’s stance. “It is just a matter of time, he will eventually have to travel to The Hague and face justice.

See the African Union’s press release expressing concern over the ICC’s new warrant here.

Find the EU’s press release demanding Chad to arrest the Sudanese president here.

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