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ICC Asks UN to Act Against Kenya

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

The International Criminal Court is asking the U.N. Security Council to take action against Kenya for hosting Sudan's president in defiance of international warrants for his arrest.

ICC judges in The Hague said Friday Kenya has a "clear obligation" as a member of the court to cooperate in enforcing its arrest warrants for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Mr. Bashir was one of several regional leaders who traveled to Nairobi for Friday's ceremonial signing of the new Kenyan constitution. Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula says Mr. Bashir was invited because he is the head of a friendly neighboring state.

Mr. Bashir is wanted by the ICC on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Sudan's Darfur region, where the government has been been fighting rebels since 2003. The United Nations estimates the conflict has killed 300,000 people.

The ICC said it is reporting Kenya to the U.N. Security Council in order for the Council to "take any measure it may deem appropriate."

U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday he is "disappointed" that Kenya hosted President Bashir, and he urged Nairobi to "honor its commitments to the ICC and to international justice."

The ICC issued its first arrest warrant against Mr. Bashir in 2009. Since then, he has visited several regional states that are not full members of the court, including Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Kenya is the second full ICC member to invite Mr. Bashir in defiance of the warrants. Chad became the first when it hosted the Sudanese president earlier this year.

Rights activists say Kenya's hosting of Mr. Bashir raises questions about its commitment to cooperate with ICC investigations of the country's post-election violence of 2007 to 2008.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo is investigating allegations of crimes against humanity committed during the unrest and expects to charge several suspects by the end of this year.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.