Mr. Al-Bashir is in Abuja for an African heads of state summit.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on the Nigerian government to immediately arrest ICC-indicted Sudanese President al-Bashir who is on a visit to Nigeria this week.
The organization also said that “Nigeria is a state party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and as such has international legal obligations to ensure that this country does not become a safe haven for alleged perpetrators of crimes under international law like Al-Bashir.”
In a statement dated July 15 and signed by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organization stated that, “The government risks sanctions by the UN Security Council if it fails to arrest President al-Bashir and surrender him to the International Criminal Court at The Hague.”
“President Goodluck Jonathan now has a rare opportunity to assist the ICC and support the demand by the international community for justice for the victims of genocide and war crimes in Darfur. Ignoring the ICC arrest warrants will have huge legal ramifications for the country, and it is therefore in Nigeria’s national interest to act in this case, by arresting President Omar Al-Bashir and surrendering him to the ICC to face fair trial for the allegations against him,” the organization also said.
Mr. al-Bashir is widely expected to attend a health summit in Abuja this week.
It would be recalled that the International Criminal Court already issued two arrest warrants for Mr. Al-Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. The warrants, issued in 2009 and 2010, charge him with criminal responsibility on 10 counts: including murder, extermination, forcible transfer of population, torture, and rape.
When the UN Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC in 2005, it urged all states to co-operate fully with the Court.
According to the ICC, Mr. al-Bashir’s official capacity as head of state does not exclude criminal responsibility or get him immunity. Some court members, including Chad, Djibouti and Kenya have allowed such visits, but others like Botswana, South Africa and Uganda have ensured that Mr. al-Bashir stays away from their countries.
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