Chad: Don't Welcome Back Al-Bashir
|Publisher||Human Rights Watch|
|Publication Date||9 April 2013|
|Cite as||Human Rights Watch, Chad: Don't Welcome Back Al-Bashir, 9 April 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/5178dd974.html [accessed 21 January 2017]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Sudanese President Should be Arrested on Arrival
(New York) - The government of Chad should arrest President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan or bar him entry to the country.
Al-Bashir is expected to travel to Chad today, to attend the Greenbelt Conference of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States, according to news reports. The Sudanese president is not attending the presidential inauguration in Kenya, as some earlier media accounts suggested he would do. Al-Bashir is sought by the International Criminal Court (ICC), accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes committed in Sudan's Darfur region.
"Chad took a step in the right direction when it avoided President al-Bashir's visit in March," said Elise Keppler, senior international justice counsel at Human Rights Watch. "Al-Bashir is sought on charges for heinous crimes in Darfur. He should be arrested, not welcomed."
Chad is the only ICC member country that has allowed al-Bashir to visit multiple times since the arrest warrant was issued in 2009. In March, Chad postponed the Greenbelt Conference to April amid diplomatic and public outcry over al-Bashir's anticipated fourth visit to Chad to attend.
As an ICC member, Chad is obligated to cooperate in securing the surrender of those wanted by the court. Other African ICC members - including South Africa, Malawi, Botswana, Central African Republic, and Zambia-have made clear that al-Bashir will be arrested on their territory, or have cancelled anticipated visits by al-Bashir to their countries.
Djibouti, Malawi, and Kenya are the only other African ICC members to have allowed al-Bashir on their territory without arresting him since the warrant was issued. However, Malawi and Kenya have avoided return visits by relocating to Ethiopia conferences al-Bashir was scheduled to attend in their countries.
The Chadian government has contended that in welcoming al-Bashir, it is abiding by a decision of the African Union (AU) calling for African governments not to cooperate in his arrest. As a matter of international law, however, AU decisions cannot negate Chad's obligations as an ICC member, Human Rights Watch said.
African civil society has protested travel by al-Bashir to the territory of ICC countries and called for al-Bashir to be arrested for trial by the ICC. The ICC's judges have found that Chad has failed to cooperate with the court in allowing al-Bashir on its territory without arrest.
"Activists across Africa have repeatedly called for African governments to surrender al-Bashir to the ICC," Keppler said. "Governments should stand with Darfur's victims and ensure that al-Bashir faces justice."