Bashir, wanted by ICC, 'very welcome' at Rwanda's AU summit

2016-07-14 19:48
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. (AFP)

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kigali - Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the world's top criminal court, is "very welcome" in Rwanda for a summit of the African Union starting this weekend, the country's foreign minister said on Thursday.

Rwanda has "no obligation" and "no right to arrest anybody" as it has not subscribed to the treaty founding the International Criminal Court (ICC), Louise Mushikiwabo said at a news conference.

She also dismissed out of hand an ICC request, sent to the Rwandan government two days ago to help it arrest Bashir, calling it "a distraction".

"We are too busy to pay attention to that kind of thing," she said at the media conference held ahead of the gathering of the 54-nation group. The summit takes place on Sunday and Monday.

"Rwanda is the host of African leaders invited by the African Union," she said.

"Unequivocally, anybody who is invited by the African Union will be here in Kigali and would be very welcome and would be under the protection of this country as should be customary."

The ICC issued arrest warrants for Bashir in 2009 and 2010 for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide over the Darfur conflict, where more than 300 000 people have died, according to the United Nations.

But he continues to travel, including to some nations that ratified the Rome treaty setting up the ICC.

Controversy erupted last year when South Africa failed to arrest Bashir when he attended an AU summit in Johannesburg.

African leaders, in fact, have become increasingly resentful of the ICC's authority, accusing the Hague-based court of targeting only countries on the African continent.

Mushikiwabo said there would be a discussion at the AU summit in Kigali of whether the court's African members should withdraw.

On Tuesday the ICC said it was referring Uganda and Djibouti to the UN Security Council after the two east African countries failed to arrest wanted Bashir during visits in May.

Read more on:    icc  |  omar al- bashir  |  rwanda  |  sudan

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.