News / Africa

Human Rights Groups to Kenya: Arrest al-Bashir

Almost two dozen African civil society and international human rights organizations are urging Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, if he returns to Kenya to attend a regional bloc meeting on the upcoming independence referendum in South Sudan.

Twenty-three organizations with offices in 13 African countries have sent a letter to Kenyan President Kibaki, expressing concern that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir may try to attend an Intergovernmental Authority on Development meeting in Nairobi in late October or early November.

Njonjo Mue, who works with the Nairobi-based International Center for Transitional Justice, says the organizations want Mr. Kibaki to make clear that another visit from the Sudanese leader to Kenya will not be tolerated.

President of Kenya Mwai Kibaki (File)
President of Kenya Mwai Kibaki (File)

"The letter we have written to the president is to remind the government of Kenya's obligation under the Rome statute and to be prepared to arrest and hand over Mr. Bashir or not to allow him into Kenyan territory," said Mue.

Omar al-Bashir has two warrants out for his arrest by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on charges of genocide and war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the western Darfur region of Sudan.  Kenya is a signatory to the Rome statute that requires states to cooperate with the ICC, which includes the execution of arrest warrants.

On August 27, al-Bashir shocked human rights and civil society groups by appearing as a guest of the Kenyan government at the historic signing of Kenya's new constitution in Nairobi.  The following day, ICC officials reported Kenya to the U.N. Security Council and to the Assembly of States Party to the Rome Statute, requesting that they take any measure they deem appropriate against Kenya.

The government in Nairobi argued it could not act against the Sudanese leader because as a member of the African Union, Kenya was bound by an AU resolution, passed in July, which discouraged members from arresting al-Bashir.

Mue says the Kenyan government was wrong to put its obligations to the African Union ahead of its obligation to uphold international law.

"Important as that resolution may be, it cannot be used as an excuse to defy the ICC," said Mue.  "Remember that other members of the African Union, such as South Africa, Botswana, and Ghana have indicated that they will not abide by the African Union resolution because they rightly believe they are bound by their obligation under the Rome statute."

Mue says the Kenyan section of the International Commission for Jurists is planning to obtain an arrest warrant for President al-Bashir from the local courts here in anticipation of his second visit to Kenya.

Human rights organizations have sharply criticized Kenya for showing a lack of commitment to the International Criminal Court, which is also investigating possible crimes against humanity committed in Kenya after the disputed presidential election in late 2007.  Prominent cabinet ministers and businessmen are believed to be on the list of people under scrutiny for their involvement in the ethnic violence that killed nearly 1,500 people.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid