Kenya issues arrest papers for Sudan’s Bashir

Court rules president should be arrested and handed to ICC over alleged war crimes and genocide if he visits Kenya.

Sudan''s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir
Bashir visited Nairobi in 2010 but was not arrested despite Kenya being a signatory to the treaty that founded the ICC

A Kenyan court has ruled that Kenyan authorities should arrest Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s president, and hand him over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over alleged war crimes and genocide in his country’s western region of Darfur.

Monday’s ruling means that Bashir’s arrest “should be effected by the Attorney General and the Minister for Internal Security should he [Bashir] ever set foot in Kenya,” Judge Nicolas Ombija said.

Though Kenya has ratified the ICC’s founding Rome statute, it failed to arrest the Sudanese leader when he visited the country in August 2010.

Bashir, the subject of two arrest warrants issued by the ICC, denies the charges and famously told the court to “dissolve the arrest warrant in water and drink it”.

The first warrant was issued in March 2009 on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, while the second was issued in July 2010 on charges of genocide.

Last year, Bashir attended a ceremony in the Kenyan capital Nairobi to mark the adopting of Kenya’s new constitution.

As a signatory of the ICC’s founding treaty, Kenya was theoretically obliged to arrest al-Bashir when he entered the country.

The UN estimates that at least 200,000 people have been killed in Darfur, but Sundan – which split into two nations in July after a referendum – says only 10,000 people have died in the conflict and that many died of hunger.

Violence in Darfur erupted in 2003 after the Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Army attacked government troops, accusing them of marginalisation and failure to protect villagers from attacks by nomadic groups.

The region is currently divided into three states – North, South and West Darfur – with their own governors and administrations. 

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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