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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs