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

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office 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.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs