Sudan’s president Mr. Omar Al-Bashir has yielded to pressure from his government asking him to stay within Sudan or risk being arrested for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
This comes after a March 17 summon of Patrick Nicoloso, France’s ambassador to Sudan, by the country’s authorities after a French official spoke in favour of the international arrest warrant against President Omar el-Bashir. According to the Figaro, the French official had said he would favour a diversion of the aircraft carrying the Sudanese president should he decide to go to the Arab summit to be held in Doha (Qatar) at the end of the month.
Mr. Al-Bashir who has refused to give himself up and face trial in the Hague, can only be forcefully arrested outside his sovereign country. According to Sudanese Islamic scholars, it is unwise for him (Mr. Bashir) to leave Sudan now, with the looming threat from the enemies of Sudan.
President Omar Bashir had vowed to attend the annual Arab summit to be held later this month in Qatar, but Sudan’s highest religious authority has issued a fatwa on him, asking him to stay within Sudan. To this regard, he has set aside a representative to take his place at the Arab summit in Qatar.
Last month, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Omar Al-Bashir for crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. Sudan dismissed the warrant as a neo- colonialist move to destabilize it and has since expelled several foreign aid agencies. Opponents of Mr. Bashir’s investigation by the ICC continue to argue that his arrest will hinder efforts to establish peace in Darfur.
The African Union and the Arab League had asked the ICC to drop the investigations saying it is unfair that all those indicted by the ICC so far were Africans. “We are not against international justice, but it seems that Africa has become a laboratory to test the new international law.” said Jean Ping, African Union Chairman.
However, the indictment and warrant makes Omar Al-Bashir the most senior figure pursued by the court since it was set up in 2002.