Home | News    Wednesday 15 June 2011

Malaysia may withdraw its invitation to Sudan’s Bashir: minister

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June 14, 2011 (WASHINGTON) – The Malaysian cabinet will review the invitation it extended to Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir to participate in an economic summit and make a decision it, an official Kuala Lumpur said today.

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Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir (AFP)

Last weekend the Malaysian deputy foreign minister Kohilan Pillay revealed that Bashir will be among seven African leaders who will participate in the 9th Langkawi International Dialogue (LID) from June 19 to 21.

The Sudanese government has yet to confirm Bashir’s attendance at the conference.

Bashir is the first head of state charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and genocide he allegedly masterminded in Sudan’s western region of Darfur.

About 300,000 people have died since conflict broke out in Darfur in 2003, when non-Arab rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum for a greater share of resources and power, according to UN figures.

Malaysia is not a state party to the ICC and therefore has no obligation to arrest him. However, last March the Asian nation declared its intention to ratify the Rome Statute which forms the basis of the Hague tribunal.

On Monday, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) both called on Malaysia to either withdraw its invitation or arrest him should he decide to attend the summit.

The Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz appeared to share the concerns made by both groups.

“I am taking this matter seriously and I want to discuss in the Cabinet because the Cabinet has decided that we should accede to the Rome Statute” Abdul Aziz was quoted as saying by Malaysian media.

“As such, I would strongly recommend to the government to withdraw the invitation,” he added.

He said that if Bashir decides to fulfill the invitation it can be an "embarrassment" to Malaysia.

"There’s a big issue about him not being arrested even though we are not a member of ICC yet" Abdul Aziz said.

Speaking to reporters in Parliament, Abdul Aziz said the decision to invite Bashir was not discussed in the cabinet. He said the government should act in a manner that complies with the statute.

"I believe that our foreign office has got strong reasons for inviting him for the moment. I will still bring this matter up to the cabinet because since we are going to accede to the Rome statute" he added.

The ’ Free Malaysia Today’ online news portal said that representatives from the Malaysian chapter of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) decried possible attendance by the Sudanese leader.

“Imagine that after saying we want to join the ICC, we invite the biggest crook in the world while killings are still going on in Sudan…what kind of a message does that send to the international community?" PGA-Malaysia secretary M Kulasegaran said.

“He should not have been invited, but it is not too late to cancel. But if he comes then please arrest him,” he added.

The Malaysian Bar Council endorsed expressed grave concern over the invitations.

Its president Lim Chee Wee said in view of the government’s decision to ratify the Rome Statute and join the ICC, it would be highly remiss if it allowed someone with a record of such severe breaches of human rights, and an outstanding warrant of arrest, to be its guest.

The Bar urged the government to show its commitment to the rule of law and the cause of international criminal justice, by withdrawing the invitation.

Bashir’s travel has been restricted as a result of the warrant even to non-ICC members. In 2009 the Sudanese leader was forced to cancel his appearance at the last minute at a summit in Turkey following behind the scenes pressure from officials in Ankara.

Last year Libya also asked Bashir to stay away from the EU-Africa summit to avoid a mass walkout by European nations.

(ST)

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  • 15 June 2011 05:19, by Paul

    Bashir a crook? yes, a crook indeed. Even North is ashamed of this crook call bashir.

    repondre message

  • 30 July 2012 18:35, by danaray79

    I am really impressed by this blog! Very clear explanation of issues is given and it is open to everyone. thanks for posting this work of yours..this is very good! Buy Essay.

    repondre message

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