Nigerian human rights groups say they will protest plans for Sudanese president Omar al Bashir to visit Nigeria. The Sudanese leader is due in Abuja next week at the invitation of President Umaru Yar’Adua.President Bashir is under indictment by the International Criminal Court at The Hague for alleged war crimes in Darfur.
South African president Thabo Mbeki is scheduled to present a report on Darfur, and the Nigerian government invited President Bashir to be present. “The invitation is an insensitive display by the president of Nigeria,” said Innocent Chukwuma, head of the CLEEN Foundation, a human rights group based in Lagos. Nigeria is a signatory to the Rome treaty, which created the International Criminal Court (ICC).
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Under the treaty, said Chukwuma, Nigeria is obliged to help the ICC carry out its functions. But the African Union, of which Nigeria is a member, has stated that it will not cooperate with the International Criminal Court in arresting the Sudanese President.
As to whether Nigeria should do whatever it can to bring about peace in Darfur, including hosting the Sudanese president, Chukwuma said President Bashir has shown that he "cannot be trusted to bring peace to the country."
He has been involved in several meetings, several dialogues convened by the AU (African Union) and international community and has proven intransigent in all of them. So I don’t see this particular visit to Nigeria as achieving the elusive peace.”The international community should compel Nigeria to arrest President Bashir and turn over to face trial, said Chukwuma.
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