Kenya won’t arrest Al-Bashir says Muthui

The Government has said that it will not arrest Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir once he attends President Elect Uhuru Kenyatta’s inauguration on Tuesday despite an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Government Spokesman Muthui Kariuki said that the government of Kenya cannot arrest Al Bashir as he is a sitting Head of State and that he was invited as being the President of a country which is party to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

In November 2011, High Court Judge Nicholas Ombijah issued a warrant for arrest against El Bashir following an application made by the International Commission for Jurists (ICJ) Kenya Chapter.

ICJ Kenya Chapter had applied for the same on the basis of an order for his arrest by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Justice Ombijah ruled that, “The court hereby issues a warrant of arrest against Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir as urged by the applicant. The order should be effected by the Attorney General (AG) and the Minister for Internal Security should he ever set foot in Kenya.”

The application by the ICJ followed after Al Bashir visited Kenya on August 27th, 2010 during the promulgation of the country’s new Constitution.

“Al Bashir came to Kenya on August 27th, 2010 and the Kenyan authorities in utter disregard of their obligations under the international law and laws of Kenya failed to enforce the warrant of arrest,” said Justice Ombijah.

ICC issued a first arrest warrant against Al Bashir in March 2009 and a second one in July 2010.

Bashir has dismissed the court’s claims that he is responsible for crimes in the Darfur region leading to the death of as many as 300,000 people and a campaign of “rape, hunger and fear” against a further 2.5 million in refugee camps.

In an op-ed published this week Steve Lamony from the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) accused Nairobi of seeking to undermine the ICC work using various legal and political tactics.

Last February the outgoing Kenyan ambassador in Sudan Robert Ngesu was quoted by the pro-government al-Rayaam newspaper as saying that Bashir is welcome to visit “at any time”.

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