September 28, 2009 (WASHINGTON) — The arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) last March has placed restrictions on where president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir can travel, a Sudanese official said today.
- Sudanese adviser to the President Ghazi Salah Al-Deen Atabani addresses the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters Monday, Sept. 28, 2009 (AP)
Bashir has been charged by the ICC judges on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Sudan’s Western region of Darfur since 2003.
Sudan rejects the charges and says it does not recognize the ICC jurisdiction as it has not ratified its founding treaty.
The court’s decision is “limiting the movement of the president,” Al-Bashir adviser Ghazi Salah Al-Deen told Associated Press in an interview.
“He has to study of course any particular (travel plan) on its own merits” he said.
The Sudanese official stressed that Bashir would not give himself up to the court’s jurisdiction.
“Give himself up? No way. No way. Because they have to convince us that there’s a real case there. There’s no real case. It’s all politics,” Salah Al-Deen said.
“If there is a case, it should be tried in Sudan,” he added in a rare remark by a Sudanese official.
Sudanese officials have sought to downplay the impact of the warrant on Bashir’s movements saying that he is moving freely when the need arises.
Ever since the arrest warrant Bashir travelled to regional Arab and African countries, none which are ICC members.
The Sudanese president received a boost last July when the African Union (AU) summit held in Libya last July granted him immunity from arrest in the continent under article 98 of the Rome Statute.
However, Bashir has not tried to test the African ICC members. He was forced to turn down an invitation last July from Uganda for a summit after he was warned that he might risk arrest.
Last week the South African president Jacob Zuma told CNN in an interview that he will order Bashir arrested if he sets foot in his country and will not stop it.