News / Africa

Rights Groups Call for Sudanese President’s Arrest in Nigeria

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir walks out of a hotel in Abuja, Nigeria, July 14, 2013.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir walks out of a hotel in Abuja, Nigeria, July 14, 2013.
Heather Murdock
Rights groups are calling for the arrest of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir as he makes his first visit to Nigeria since he was indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2009. 

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir arrived at the African Union HIV/AIDS conference along with leaders from across the continent, including Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

Human Rights Watch and the Nigerian Coalition on the International Criminal Court are calling for his arrest in accordance with a 2009 ICC indictment.  The Hague-based international court charged President Bashir with war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Sudan's Darfur region, where hundreds of thousands were killed and millions displaced.

The Nigerian rights coalition chair, Chino Edmund Obiagwa, said all countries that are members of the international court were bound by law to arrest anyone who has been indicted, including heads of state.

“All state parties to the ICC have a responsibility to execute it, whether he is a sitting president or not,” said Obiagwa.

Sudan's president has traveled to other African countries, including Kenya, Djibouti and Chad without incident, but Obiagwa said Nigeria should be more likely to make an arrest because of the large role it played in peacekeeping in Africa, with troops in several countries, including Sudan.

Other countries, like South Africa and Botswana have threatened to arrest Bashir if he visits.

“Nigeria has not demonstrated any precedent of non-cooperation with the ICC.  On the contrary, given the role Nigeria plays in international peace and security and given the threats in the region in terms of security it is important that Nigeria supports international justice mechanisms, especially the ICC, rather than undermining it,” said Obiagwa.

However, Nigerian officials said they would not be arresting Bashir because he was invited to Nigeria by the African Union.  The AU has previously urged African countries to withdraw from the ICC, saying the court is racially biased and targets African leaders.  Bashir was the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the court, followed by the heads of Libya and Kenya.

“If they’ve invited heads of state, Nigeria will not stop anybody.  If AU decides to take on, or to host, or to invite any head of state, Nigeria will not have any hand in it.  So I want to believe that since this is an AU summit and the AU has invited him, since he’s here, it’s the responsibility of the AU,” said Nigerian Minister of State for Africa Viola Onwuliri.

When President Bashir was originally indicted he denied the charges, saying they were "not worth the ink they are written in."

The Nigerian Coalition on the International Criminal Court petitioned the courts in Abuja to order an arrest.  However, Obiagwa says even if the court was so inclined, there’s not much chance Mr. Bashir will be in Nigeria long enough for it to take action.

(Ubale Musa contributed to this report from Abuja.)

You May Like

Video VOA ‘Town Hall’ Shines Light on Ebola Crisis

Experts call for greater speed in identification and treatment of deadly disease More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

Funding Program Helps Extremely Poor in Ghana

Broad objective for Ghana's social cash transfer program is to lessen the impact of poverty on the most vulnerable people, elderly, orphans, those with disabilities More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JOHN from: MAKURDI
July 15, 2013 2:04 PM
Alot of atrocities are happening in Najja under the NGOs/ Coalation nose. the presidency is always death about there simple contribution. And they have the got to call for somebodies arrest when you cat even arrest your dubious once among yourselves

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid