Bashir's arrest depends on states' collaboration

2011-07-02 20:01
The Hague - He may have an arrest warrant against him, but Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir continues to jet around the world in defiance of the International Criminal Court, which depends on the goodwill of states to catch him.

Wanted for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur, Bashir on Friday flew back to Sudan after a three-day official visit to China, where he was given the red-carpet treatment.

The visit drew a rebuke by the United States and UN human rights chief Navi Pillay's, but nothing happened to the Sudanese leader in Beijing.

China slapped down criticism, saying it had not signed the Rome Statute, the ICC's founding document, which was ratified by 116 countries promising to co-operate with the independent world crimes court.

"China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, which focused the prosecutor's attention on the situation in Darfur. It would have been logical to support what the Council asked for," said ICC jurist Fadi el-Abdallah, who works in the court's information section.

"China sells arms to Sudan, which are used in Darfur and they [China] are looking for oil. China favours its economic interests in Africa above any other considerations," added a source close to the UN, who asked not to be named.

Despite having an arrest warrant issued against him in 2009 for war crimes and crimes against humanity, Bashir has travelled abroad numerous times.

Most recently he went to Djibouti, but he has also been to Kenya and Chad. All three countries are state parties to the Rome Statute.

With each visit, ICC judges "informed" the Security Council and the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute so "any appropriate measures can be taken by its members".

"There has been no success up until now," El-Abdallah admitted.

But he added: "We have more and more positive feedback from states, including non-parties to the Rome Statute," citing Libya as an example.

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