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

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora