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 One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs