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A coalition of human rights groups is
calling on Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua to arrest Sudanese President Omar
al-Bashire when he comes to Nigeria this Thursday, October 29 to attend an
African Union-sponsored talks on the crisis in Sudan's Darfur region.
International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for the
Sudanese president for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Nwankwo, the representative for Africa on the International Coalition for the
ICC, said Nigeria must honor its international
legal obligation to arrest Mr. Bashir.
know that Nigeria is a state party to the Rome Statute of the International
Criminal Court. And by signing on to that statute, Nigeria has committed to
support the court and support all its actions. You are also aware that just
recently Nigeria was elected as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security
Council," she said.
the Sudanese president is allowed to attend this week's AU summit, Nigeria
would have been the first signatory to the ICC statute that Bashir would have
visited since the arrest warrant was issued.
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Nigerian government source was quoted as saying it is unlikely that Nigeria
will arrest Mr. Bashir, after all, the source reportedly said, the Sudanese president
would be the guest of the African Union.
said Nigerians are worried that if this happens it would affect the credibility
of Nigeria not just as a nation but also as a member of the U.N. Security
African Union said last July it would disregard the ICC arrest warrant against Mr.
al-Bashir because the ICC ignored the AU request for the arrest warrant to be
deferred for one year.
said the AU position is not supported by all member countries.
aware of the AU position, and I'm aware that that position is not supported by
all the AU members, especially the members that are state parties to the
statute," Nwankwo said.
South African President Thabo Mbeki, who heads the AU Panel on Darfur is
expected to submit a report on the Darfur crisis at the Nigeria summit.
aware of the statement put out when al-Bashir was planning to come to South
Africa; I'm aware of the statement that Botswana put out saying if he comes
they will arrest. So I don't know why Nigeria should be inviting him," Nwankwo
said public opinion in Nigeria is against the Sudanese president coming to
think Bashir will be right in considering whether he should come or not because
general opinion in Nigeria is that he should not come. So I don't know what is
going to happen, but I'm telling you because we work with the people that the
generality of the public, the media the civil society they are saying it will
not be okay," she said.
said the rights groups will call a news conference Monday to tell the Nigerian
government that it should listen to the people who elected it by not allowing
President al-Bashir to come to Nigeria.
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