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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid