News / Africa

    Kenyan Government Condemned Over al-Bashir Visit

    African leaders including indicted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir joined tens of thousands of Kenyans when Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki to signed the new constitution into law, Nairobi, 27 Aug 2010
    African leaders including indicted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir joined tens of thousands of Kenyans when Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki to signed the new constitution into law, Nairobi, 27 Aug 2010

    International and local human rights organizations have condemned the Kenyan government for not upholding its obligation to arrest Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. The Sudanese leader, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and genocide, was in attendance at the historic signing of Kenya's new constitution in Nairobi.

    President al-Bashir was not mentioned on the list of African heads of state expected at the constitution signing ceremony Friday.

    The Kenyan government says it invited the indicted Sudanese leader to attend the event. Al-Bashir's presence at the festivities shocked and dismayed human rights organizations, who had previously urged the Kenyan government not to allow al-Bashir from entering Kenya or to arrest him if he did.

    In March 2009, the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir for atrocities committed in Darfur in western Sudan. A second arrest warrant was issued last month on charges of genocide.  Al-Bashir is the first sitting head of state ever indicted by the ICC.

    A researcher for Human Rights Watch, Elizabeth Evenson says Kenya has blatantly ignored its obligation as a signatory to a statute that requires states to cooperate with the International Criminal Court, which includes the execution of arrest warrants.

    "It really is an insult to the victims not only in Darfur, but to the victims of the post-election violence in Kenya because it really throws into question the commitment of the Kenyan government to accountability and to cooperating with the ICC and the investigation," Evenson said.

    Last November, the ICC stepped in to investigate possible crimes against humanity committed during the ethnic violence that broke out following Kenya's disputed presidential election in December 2007. Main suspects behind the violence include prominent Cabinet members, politicians, and businessmen. The ICC opened the investigation when the Kenyan government failed to meet its own deadline to establish a local tribunal.

    More than 1,000 people were killed and some 300,000 others displaced in the mayhem that threatened to break the country apart along tribal lines. The violence ended after incumbent President Mwai Kibaki and challenger Raila Odinga signed a power-sharing deal and agreed to wide-ranging reforms aimed at preventing future violence.

    The executive director of the Nairobi-based International Center for Policy and Conflict, Ndung'u Wainaina, said that al-Bashir's visit demonstrates that Kenya is not ready, nor willing, to cooperate with the ICC.

    The ICC has no police force and relies on 113 member states to arrest people it has indicted. The court received a major setback last month when the African Union criticized the ICC's warrant for al-Bashir and urged its members not to cooperate in his arrest.

    A spokesperson for the international non-profit No Peace Without Justice, Alison Smith, tells VOA her organization is deeply concerned about the lack of commitment the Kenyan government is already showing to the ICC.

    "Not a good signal they are sending at all. I guess Kenya could say that they are simply implementing this African Union decision in respect to Sudan," Smith said. "However, Kenya is a state party and if they are not cooperating with the ICC, we do have to wonder how much they are going to cooperate in respect of investigations and eventual indictments that may come out in relation to Kenya."

    The African Union argues that trying to prosecute al-Bashir in The Hague jeopardizes efforts to reach a peace settlement in Darfur, where rebels have fought a seven-year war against the government in Khartoum. Critics of that argument say peace has not been possible in Darfur because there is no process of justice.

    You May Like

    How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Probe Targeting China's Statistic Head Sparks Concern

    Economists now asking what prompted government to launch an investigation only months after Wang Baoan had been vetted for crucial job

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.