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
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
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