March 26, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese government Sunday has downplayed calls by Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Jordan to meet its obligations towards the International Criminal Court (ICC) and deny entry to President Omer al-Bashir.
- Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir salutes his supporters as he disembarks from the plane, after attending an African Union conference in Johannesburg South Africa, at the airport in the capital Khartoum, Sudan June 15, 2015 (REUTERS)
The ICC issued two arrest warrants against al-Bashir in 2009 and 2010 for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed in Darfur.
However, he has continued to travel freely in Africa, Arab countries and Asia, defying the ICC arrest warrants.
Last January, al-Bashir received an invitation from King Abdullah II of Jordan to participate in the 28th Arab League Summit in Amman on March 29, 2017.
On Sunday, HRW urged Jordan to deny entry to al-Bashir or arrest him saying a visit by Sudan’s president would be the first time Jordan had welcomed an ICC fugitive.
“Jordan would be defying its international obligations as an ICC member if it allows al-Bashir to visit without arresting him,” said Elise Keppler, associate international justice director at HRW Sunday.
Jordan is a party to the Rome Statute of the ICC and hypothetically has an obligation to enforce an ICC arrest warrant for Al-Bashir if he is present on its territory.
Sudan’s foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour has vehemently criticised the HRW, saying its call for Jordan to arrest al-Bashir is not unusual because the group continued to take hostile actions toward Khartoum.
He pointed the HRW failed to prove its previous claims about the use of chemical weapons by the Sudanese army in Darfur, saying the group’s call for Amman is nothing but an attempt to return to the spotlight.
Ghandour stressed that al-Bashir will participate in the Arab summit despite his busy schedule, saying the meeting would discuss two issues of particular interest to Sudan including reconstruction and food security in the Arab world.
The Sudanese top diplomat further pointed that King Abdullah II has underscored keenness for al-Bashir’s participation in the summit.
According to the UN, 200,000 people have been killed in the Darfur conflict, and 2, 5 million chased from their homes.
In 2015, South Africa refused to arrest Bashir when he attended an African Union summit there, claiming he had immunity as the head of an AU member state.