Africa: ICC Refers Uganda, Djibouti for Failure to Arrest Bashir

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has this week reported Uganda and Djibouti to the UN Security Council for failing to arrest Sudanese president Omar al Bashir during his visit to the countries.

On May 12 this year, the US and French delegations walked out during the inauguration of President Yoweri Museveni in Kampala after refusing to sit in the same room as al Bashir.

Days earlier, the Sudanese leader attended the swearing of Djibouti's president IsmaA�l Guelleh for a new term.

Both the US and France have military bases in Djibouti and their ambassadors sat through the ceremony without protest.

South Africa is already subject to an ICC enquiry on the same charge after Mr al-Bashir was allowed to depart to Pretoria for an African Union summit in June last year.

The South African Supreme Court has since ruled the government in breech of its obligations, describing a failure to arrest him as "disgraceful".

In 2010, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir over the death of more than 300,000 civilians in Darfur.

As members of the international court, Uganda and Djibouti have an obligation to arrest any person called to trial at the Hague where sitting heads of state are no longer immune from prosecution.

The latest move adds to the woes of Uganda and Djibouti, under pressure from human rights groups who claim both countries engage in torture and unlawful killing despite being members of the ICC.

In December, forces loyal to President Guelleh opened fire on protesters near the capital, Djibouti City, killing several dozen people and wounding others.

Amnesty International's regional director for East Africa, Muthoni Wanyeki, said failure to honour the ICC warrant was "a cruel betrayal of the hundreds of thousands of people killed and displaced during the Darfur conflict."

Source: The East African

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