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HRW calls on Tunisia to arrest Sudan’s al-Bashir

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President of Sudan, Omer al-Bashir (C) stands between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, (L), and Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa at the Arab League summit on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 in Jordan (AP Photo)
March 26, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Human Rights Watch called on Tunisia to bar entry to its territory or arrest Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir, who is wanted by the war crimes court in The Hague.

The Arab leaders are set to meet in Tunis on 31 March where the Arab League will hold its 30th annual summit. The meeting is the first to take place in the North African country since the fall down of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s regime.

Following Tunisia’s revolution in January 2011, the North African country in July of the same year was the first in the region to join the treaty establishing the world’s first permanent court tasked with trying people accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Khartoum-based Akhirlahza daily newspaper reported on 21 March President al-Bashir who is facing over three-month protests calling for him to go would head Sudanese delegation to the summit.

“Tunisia should demonstrate its commitment to international justice by barring President al-Bashir or arresting him if he sets foot in the country,” said Elise Keppler, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch.

“Al-Bashir is an international fugitive who should be in The Hague to face the charges against him, not attending summits hosted by ICC members,” he further added in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.

In 2017, al-Bashir who is facing two ICC warrants for alleged war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity attended the Arab summit in Jordan another Arab state party to the Rome Statute of the Court.

The ICC judges concluded that Jordan had defied its international obligations to arrest al-Bashir and sent its finding to the United Nations Security Council. Jordan appealed the decision, which is pending before an ICC appeals chamber.

HRW pointed out to recent excessive use of force by the Sudanese authorities against peaceful protests that killed over 30 people according to the government while activists and rights groups say the protests have left over 50 people dead.

"The longstanding impunity for human rights violations by authorities in Sudan has fuelled ongoing brutality," Human Rights Watch said.

(ST)

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