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Omar al-Bashir: Sudan’s President Leaves AU Summit in a Hurry

Courtesy of U.S. Navy

Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, who was attending an African Union health summit, has left Nigeria in a hurry after human rights activists demanded his arrest on war crimes charges.

According to the

“‘He has left. He left in the afternoon [on Monday],’  said Mohammed Moiz,  spokesperson for the Sudanese embassy in Nigeria on Tuesday. He said Bashir had left because he had  another engagement.

“The embassy spokesperson said Bashir, who had arrived on Sunday, returned to Khartoum, but gave no further details on the other engagement.

“Nigeria’s presidency defended welcoming Bashir to the country for the summit scheduled for Monday and Tuesday despite war crimes charges against him, saying it cannot interfere in AU affairs.

“The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2009 and 2010 issued two warrants against Bashir for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide over the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region.

“Since Nigeria is a member of the ICC, it technically has a legal obligation to arrest suspects wanted by the court.”

Nigerian Activists Demands Bashir Arrest

According to

“Nigerian activists filed a suit with the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday demanding that …Bashir be arrested and handed over to the [ICC] which is seeking him on an international arrest warrant.

“‘The judiciary in this country has the responsibility to implement legal obligations created by treaties undertaken by Nigeria,’ the Nigeria Coalition on the International Criminal Court said in a statement after filing the suit.

“‘Nigeria is under legal obligation to execute … the arrest warrants issued … against Mr. al-Bashir.’

“The African Union voted in 2009 not to cooperate with the ICC indictments against Bashir. Nigeria’s presidency says its decision to allow him in was in keeping with that decision.

“African enthusiasm for the court has waned over the years, partly owing to a perception that prosecutors disproportionately target African leaders, a charge the ICC denies.”

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