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Sudan president leaves Nigeria after demands for his arrest

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir attends  the African Union Summit on health focusing on HIV and Aids, TB and malaria in Abuja on July 15, 2013. President Bashir has left Nigeria after demands for his arrest on war crimes charges, an embassy spokesman said July 16, 2013. AFP
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir attends the African Union Summit on health focusing on HIV and Aids, TB and malaria in Abuja on July 15, 2013. President Bashir has left Nigeria after demands for his arrest on war crimes charges, an embassy spokesman said July 16, 2013. AFP 



Tuesday, July 16, 2013

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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has left Nigeria after demands for his arrest on war crimes charges, an embassy spokesman said Tuesday, although he denied the departure was due to the controversy.

"He has left. He left in the afternoon (on Monday)," Mohammed Moiz, spokesman for the Sudanese embassy in Nigeria, told AFP. He denied Bashir had left due to calls for his arrest, saying he had another engagement.

Bashir had been attending an African Union health summit which was due to end on Tuesday.

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

President Bashir's departure from Abuja came as the Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) requested Nigeria to immediately arrest and to surrender him to the ICC.

The Chamber noted that the situation in Darfur was referred to the ICC by resolution 1593 of the United Nations Security Council and that, according to article 87(7) of the Rome Statute, "[w]here a State Party fails to comply with a request to cooperate by the Court contrary to the provisions of this Statute [...] the Court may make a finding to that effect and refer the matter to the Assembly of States Parties or, where the Security Council referred the matter to the Court, to the Security Council".

The Chamber instructed the ICC Registrar to immediately transmit the decision to the Nigerian authorities, and to prepare a report to the Chamber concerning Omar Al Bashir's visit to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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 court 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.

Some African Union members and officials have criticised the Bashir indictments, and the body has passed a resolution calling on members not to cooperate with the warrants.

Rights activists harshly criticised Bashir's visit and said they were planning to go to court to try to force Nigeria to arrest him.



 





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