The International Criminal Court (ICC)said Friday that it was reporting indicted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s visit to Kenya to the UN Security Council, so that appropriate steps might be taken.
Bashir attended the ceremony in Nairobi Friday 27th August to adopt a new constitution despite warrants for his arrest issued by the ICC on charges of genocide and war crimes.
A statement said the court ‘informs the Security Council of the United Nations and the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute about Omar Al-Bashir’s presence on the territory of the Republic of Kenya, in order for them to take any measure they may deem appropriate. The Republic of Kenya has a clear obligation to cooperate with the Court in relation to the enforcement of such warrants of arrest’.
The country, as a signatory to the treaty which set up the ICC, is obliged to arrest Bashir, who was indicted in March ‘09 for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity, and in July 2010 on charges of genocide.
The charges relate to atrocities committed by Khartoum’s forces in Sudan’s western province of Darfur.
Bashir, whose name was not on the list of heads of state expected to attend the ceremony, arrived at Uhuru Park Friday and was ushered to the main dais. He appeared relaxed and smiling as he shook hands with other African leaders attending the ceremony.
Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula was unapologetic, saying Bashir was in Nairobi ‘because we invited all neighbours and he is a neighbour.’
‘There are no apologies to make about anybody we invited to this function because I am sure we are enhancing peace and security and stability of this region more than anything else,’ he added.
In July, Bashir visited neighbouring Chad, which was at the time strongly criticised by the European Union and human rights groups for its refusal to arrest him.
That visit was his first to an ICC member state, although both Chad and Kenya are members of the African Union which has said that the arrest warrants against Bashir are counterproductive for the quest for peace in Darfur.
The ICC has no police and relies on states that support it to carry out arrests.