News24

Malawi cancels AU summit over Bashir

2012-06-08 15:35

Blantyre - Malawi said on Friday it will not host the African Union summit in July because the bloc insisted on inviting Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, wanted on international war crimes charges.

"After considering the interests of Malawians, I want to inform Malawians that the cabinet met today and decided it was not interested to accept the conditions by the African Union, therefore Malawi is not hosting the summit," Vice President Khumbo Kachali told journalists in a brief speech broadcast on state radio.

The decision had already been communicated to the AU, he said.

Kachali said the country had received a communication from the AU commission that as a host country Malawi was required to invite all presidents including Bashir.

"The commission said if Malawi was not willing to host al-Bashir, the venue should be shifted to another country," he said, adding that the summit would be hosted by Ethiopia.

Sudan on Thursday said it had urged the pan-African bloc to shift the summit to its Addis Ababa headquarters after the host nation's refusal to welcome Bashir.

Sudan's president is wanted by The Hague-based International Criminal Court on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in the country's troubled Darfur region.

Malawi's new president, Joyce Banda, said in May that she wanted Bashir to stay away from the summit scheduled in Lilongwe on July 9-16, to avoid straining ties with key donors for her impoverished country.

Banda has embarked on a major drive to smooth ties with the international community which were soured under her predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika and has taken a number of bold steps to steer the country into donor-friendly waters.

Foreign aid once provided roughly 40% of Malawi's development budget but funding was slashed amid an economic crisis and governance concerns under Mutharika's rule, resulting in chronic foreign exchange and fuel shortages.

Under current ICC rules, its members, of which Malawi is one, have a duty to arrest Bashir, who has visited several countries, including some court signatories, without any action being taken.

Earlier this week, ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the UN Security Council that failure to detain him and other Sudanese officials accused of war crimes and genocide was "a direct challenge to the council's authority."

He said the council should consider calling on all 193 UN member states and regional organisations to carry out the arrest warrants.

The Sudanese leader is the first sitting president indicted by the court and his visits spark diplomatic headaches for African nations, with some signatories vowing his arrest on their soil while others flout the court's rules.

Malawi was reported to the council in December for refusing to arrest Bashir after Mutharika gave him a red carpet welcome at a regional trade summit.

In 2009, the AU said it would not respect the warrant and urged the United Nations to suspend the arrest order.

Last month, the foreign minister of Benin, which currently chairs the African Union, said the group had no reason to bar Bashir from its July summit.

The idea of hosting the meeting was mooted by Mutharika before he died, but the country faced logistical challenges, including a shortage of the 4 000 beds needed.

Kachali said that the "state was also not ready to host the summit as confirmed by the evaluation team from the AU".

Comments
  • stanton.clarke - 2012-06-08 15:44

    Way to go Malawi!

      Dee - 2012-06-08 17:49

      Way to go Joyce Banda. Add to that her auction of past presidents jets, fleet of Mercedes .... AFRICAN WOMEN LEADERS ROCK!!!

      Hermann - 2012-06-09 07:08

      And think of all the money Malawi will save by not having to carry the costs of non-paying African countries.

  • Koos - 2012-06-08 15:45

    At least someone with balls.

      etafrica - 2012-06-08 16:40

      We desperately need a President like that!!!!!!!!!

      keith.f.murphy - 2012-06-16 14:13

      Does she have balls or Clitts ?

  • allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-06-08 15:52

    http://www2.icc-cpi.int/NR/rdonlyres/64FA6B33-05C3-4E9C-A672-3FA2B58CB2C9/277758/ICCOTPSummary20081704ENG.pdf Summary of the case .... something the AU should read seeing as they are signatories.

  • peter.vanachter - 2012-06-08 16:18

    Well done at least an african country that stands it grounds

  • Shelagh - 2012-06-08 16:41

    Good on you, Malawi. Great decision!

  • Danie - 2012-06-08 16:59

    Mark my words - The way Malawi goes, they will become a success story in Africa...President Banda you deserve respect for looking out for your people...

  • Nicholas - 2012-06-08 17:02

    Malawi looks to finally have a leader of substance. I wish we could say the same.

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-08 17:37

    If anyone wants a reason why Africa is hardly on the radar for direct foreign investment other than raw material extractions, this is it. We need to drop the pseudo-victimhood, the monopoly capital nonsense, get to work, and clean out the corruption and violence. Then our day will dawn, and dawn brightly it will.

  • Mandla - 2012-06-08 17:49

    Now you know dictators like travelling. Ours has been globetrotting for more than 3 dacades coming home empty handed.

  • Tankiso Mogoje - 2012-06-08 17:55

    Anything to accommodate their criminal friends.To hell with AU and UN,viva EU and Joyce Banda.

  • Carol - 2012-06-08 19:09

    Iron lady of Africa

      keith.f.murphy - 2012-06-16 14:15

      Who says shes an iron lady ? Shes a puppet for the western vampires and she is a sell out to the african continent the idiot

  • Boemo - 2012-06-08 19:34

    some plp just comment for the sake of commenting. the lady is just being used thats all. if u comply the west, u will always be a good person, but ones u go against them. They will use boo.gey institutions like the ICC which has not charged a single western leader for crimes against humanity and war that they directly indirectly committing in other parts of the world.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-08 21:54

      Such as?

      Stewart Croucamp - 2012-06-09 14:36

      It was the West, the churches and the media that helped you defeat apartheid and this is how you show your gratitude. The wheel is turning. Be careful of the friends you choose for the future. China has one interest and that is to rule Africa. Turn your back on the West and accept the consequences.

  • Boemo - 2012-06-08 19:37

    AU has balls it will never be dictated by the ICC.

      Mandla - 2012-06-08 20:58

      AU is a club of tyrants eg Paul Biya, Dos Santos, Museveni(another friend of the west), Kabila, Al Bashir, King Mswati, Omar Bongo, Obiang Nguema, Blaise Campore, Mugabe and previosly Ben Ali, Gaddafi and Mubarak. Hope you embrace all of these criminals' principles and you are proud of them that is if you know them or you just commenting just for the sake of filling space with hogwash. Want kind of an African doesnt know that the west put these morons in power so that they can tape our resources freely while the Mugabes are busy killing their own people.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-06-08 21:53

      Boemo, What are you talking about ?? 33 African countries are signatories to the ICC !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Clive - 2012-06-09 09:40

      That is so Anthony, but how many of them adhere to the ICC rules?

  • Boemo - 2012-06-08 19:42

    take for example for this news headline (Nato apologises for Afghan deaths) no one will be accountable for that. what does ICC say about it. are those not human beings? what they do they will only apologize and give them money which will not bring back their loved ones. ICC is biased.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-08 21:56

      Intention is a key component in committing a crime. Clearly Nato, which is made up of 28 countries, does not intend to harm civilians. It targets only those who have declared and wage war on its members.

  • jf.lambert2 - 2012-06-08 20:00

    wouaw, more women like her as president all over the continent! Men are useless, let women rule:-)

  • benkambalawathila.nyirenda - 2012-06-08 20:01

    The country better know as impoverished southern poorest national in Africa is no longer independent, you can see for yourself. Regalise same sex=yes bwana mukubwa; devalue the kwacha=yes bwana mukubwa; you must arrest Ali Bashir=no bwana mukubwa lets just cancels the sammit{ been poor is not good}

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-06-08 20:32

    Why is this brave President standing alone? It is time, for other African Presidents to publicly support her. And than split up the AU; The NUMBER ONE AU; for countries who believe in the rule of law, The NUMBER TWO AU, for THUGS!!

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-06-08 21:44

      SA (Zuma) once again is paralysed. He just cannot make a comment for or against because it is too much for him. There is no foreign policy. He will make a decision 14 days later. What a laugh. What an embarrassment.

      Boemo - 2012-06-12 23:38

      cos she is a stooge.

  • Bhekophilayo Ngobese - 2012-06-08 21:42

    When will this ICC arrest those who invaded Iraq and Afgahnstan and killed so many innocent people?

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-06-08 21:59

      Bhekophilayo, Unfortunately the super powers, like Russia, the USA and China , are not signatories to the ICC. But this should not deter us , to clean up our continent of criminal thugs and the ones who commit crimes against humanity. WE, who want to live a decent life in Africa, will be the beneficiaries of those actions !!!!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-08 21:59

      You must be speaking of the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians killed or maimed by Al-Quaida and the Taliban with their car bombs and suicide attacks intentionally placed in public places. One of those places was New York, where civilians from 90 countries were terrifyingly killed by these murderers. What would you do if your family and friends were among them? The freer world goes to great lengths to avoid harm to civilians when it wages war.

      Clive - 2012-06-09 09:43

      Yes Anthony, we in Africa do want to live a decent life. Now tell that to the people of Sudan.

      david.baker.sa - 2012-06-15 16:55

      @anthony - Agreed. Small technical correction. Russia and the USA did sign but they never ratified it so its impact is very limited. However it is wrth noting that the UK, France, Germany and almost all of Europe signed and ratified it. Most of Africa have signed and ratified it including SA. So if Al Bashir attends an AU conference it cannot be in SA

  • Clive - 2012-06-09 09:36

    Sad that a poor little country like Malawi has to take the lead in condemning the likes of al-Bashir, while we continue to hold hands with the despot from Harare.

  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-06-09 14:27

    My deepest respect for you PresIdent Banda. Leading from the front.

  • blackjew69 - 2012-06-11 14:40

    “What is dramatically ironic about the whole picture is that the United States is the number one advocate of international criminal justice for others, while holding itself self-righteously aloof from accountability on the main ground that the process might be tainted by politicized motivations! The U.S. Congress has even threatened that it would use military force to rescue any Americans that were somehow called to account by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and has signed agreements with over 100 governments not to hand over American citizens to the ICC. And yet it is American criminal lawyers and human rights NGOs that have been most loudly applauding the outcome in the Taylor case, and without even a whimper of acknowledgement that there may be some issues relating to double standards.”

  • blackjew69 - 2012-06-11 14:40

    “What is dramatically ironic about the whole picture is that the United States is the number one advocate of international criminal justice for others, while holding itself self-righteously aloof from accountability on the main ground that the process might be tainted by politicized motivations! The U.S. Congress has even threatened that it would use military force to rescue any Americans that were somehow called to account by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and has signed agreements with over 100 governments not to hand over American citizens to the ICC. And yet it is American criminal lawyers and human rights NGOs that have been most loudly applauding the outcome in the Taylor case, and without even a whimper of acknowledgement that there may be some issues relating to double standards.”

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