News24

Bashir back home after summit

2010-07-23 21:18

Khartoum - Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir arrived in Khartoum on Friday after he was able to leave a summit in Chad despite being wanted for genocide in Darfur, an AFP correspondent said.

Bashir, whom the International Criminal Court also accuses of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the western Sudanese region, had departed Chad despite considerable pressure on the host country to arrest him.

His appearance at the summit of the Community of Sahel-Saharan (CEN-SAD) states in Chad, which has ratified the founding statute of the ICC, was met with outrage by human rights groups.

Bashir was travelling for the first time to a state that has ratified the accord.

On Thursday, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton had urged Chad to arrest Bashir and hand him over to the court based in The Hague to face the charges.

The United States urged Chad to consider "its responsibilities".

Support for Bashir

The ICC, which has no police and relies on states that support it to carry out arrests, in March last year accused Bashir of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, and issued a further arrest mandate for genocide earlier this month.

The seven-year Darfur conflict in western Sudan, on the border with Chad, has claimed 300 000 lives according to the United Nations. The Khartoum government puts the toll at 10 000.

At the opening of the summit, CEN-SAD Secretary General Mohamed al-Madani al-Azhari, a Libyan, expressed the unfailing support of the organisation for Bashir in the face of the ICC.

Bashir left Ndjamena for Sudan around 16:00 after talks in private with his Chadian counterpart Idriss Deby Itno, but the summit was to resume later without him.

In Ndjamena, Bashir had stayed at Deby's villa near the airport and was protected by an impressive security detail.