Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the ICC for genocide and crimes against humanity. He has successfully visited Chad three times since having a warrant out for his arrest.
Flaunting international justice once again, Sudan’s President al-Bashir traveled to Chad over the weekend to attend an international summit. Architect of the Darfur genocide, Bashir is wanted for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court.
United to End Genocide joined a group of 97 international organizations — most of whom are from the African continent — voicing their concern and strongly criticizing the Chadian government. The group called on the Chadian government to honor its obligations to the International Criminal Court: “Welcoming President Bashir — a wanted war criminal — to Chad not only sends the wrong message to the Sudanese people, including those who live as refugees in Chad, but to perpetrators around the world.”This was Bashir’s third visit to Chad, a signatory the founding document of the International Criminal Court. Leaders in Chad have previously said they don’t want to arrest Bashir because he is a sitting Head of State.
Chad is not the only nation to fail to live up to its obligations under the International Criminal Court to arrest Bashir.
The international community has failed numerous times to arrest Bashir. In spite of the continued humanitarian crisis in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile, members of the ICC, including Chad, Djibouti, Kenya, and Malawi, have previously welcomed the Sudanese President to their countries. This time, the Chadian government again impeded the process of bringing Bashir to justice and disregarded the thousands of people in Sudan who have suffered unimaginable atrocities under his leadership.
UEG also signed a joint letter by Washington, DC.-based advocacy groups addressed to the Embassy of Chad, urging the Chadian government to honor its obligations to the ICC and arrest Bashir.
Below is the full text of the two letters:
His Excellency Hon. Idriss Deby
President of the Republic of Chad
We, the undersigned organizations, are seriously concerned over reports of a possible visit to Chad by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir—wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes to attend the Community of Sahel-Saharan summit to be held on February 16, 2013 in Ndjamena.
President al-Bashir is the subject of two arrest warrants issued by the ICC. Permitting President al-Bashir to visit Chad without executing these warrants would run counter to Chad’s obligations as a state party to the Rome Statute of the ICC, in particular Articles 86 and 89(1). It would also send damaging signals to victims of mass atrocities in Darfur and globally, and undermine Chad’s credibility on issues of justice and accountability.
The Chadian government participated in the eleventh session of the ICC Assembly of States Parties (ASP) held in The Hague, during which states discussed the importance of strengthening efforts to ensure full and effective cooperation with the Court and expressed their political and diplomatic support. Avoiding situations of non-cooperation was a topic featured prominently in official statements at the tenth and eleventh sessions of the ASP.
Recent events point to a readiness on the part of states to uphold their obligations under the ICC treaty and to avoid situations of non-cooperation with the Court. Most recently, Malawi pulled out of hosting a recent African Union (AU) summit in light of the
AU’s insistence that al-Bashir attend the meeting. In the past years, President al-Bashir cancelled a scheduled trip to the Central African Republic for independence celebrations in Bangui in December 2010 amid calls for his arrest, and his anticipated travel to Kenya was forestalled in October 2010 with the relocation of a meeting of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development from Nairobi to Addis Ababa. President al-Bashir’s curtailed travel sends a strong signal that, as a suspected perpetrator of the worst crimes known to humankind, he is not a welcome guest and should be arrested to face justice before the ICC.
Already on December 13, 2011, following the visit of President Al-Bashir to Chad, ICC judges concluded that Chad failed to cooperate with the court and referred the matter to the UN Security Council.
For all of these reasons, we urge the Chadian government to clearly affirm its commitment to cooperate with the ICC, as states such as South Africa, Uganda and
Botswana, and Malawi have already done, and clarify that should President al-Bashir enter Chad, he will be arrested. This would be an important way to demonstrate respect for victims of the crimes committed, along with Chad’s commitment to end impunity.
c.c. H.E. Ambassador Ahmad Allam-mi, Permanent Representative of the Republic of
Chad to the United Nations
Ambassador Maitine Djoumbe
The Embassy of Chad
2401 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008
Your Excellency Maitine Djoumbe:
We write to convey our deep concern about President Idriss Déby’s decision to welcome Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to Chad for a summit of the Sahel-Saharan states, and we request a meeting with you to discuss this matter further.
As you know, President Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur. The ongoing failure of the international community to bring President Bashir to justice has resulted in the ongoing commission of atrocities against the Sudanese people – first in Darfur, and now in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
As Chad is a state party to the Rome Statute, we strongly urge the Chadian government to abide by its international and moral obligations to rescind the invitation for President Bashir to travel to Chad. Further to your international human rights obligations, if President Bashir does arrive in Chad, we urge you to immediately arrest and surrender him to the ICC upon his arrival.
Chad’s strategic importance and influence in the region make it imperative that the Chadian government demonstrates its support for civilian protection and justice for victims of atrocities in neighboring Sudan. Providing President Bashir with safe haven at this time only serves to embolden a regime that continues to bomb civilian areas and cut off humanitarian aid to those in dire need. Welcoming President Bashir – a wanted war criminal – to Chad not only sends the wrong message to the Sudanese people, including those who live as refugees in Chad, but to perpetrators around the world.
In order to achieve lasting peace for the region, Chad’s support for justice and accountability efforts both at home and abroad remains essential. We hope that you will take this opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to human rights, justice and peace by standing up for the people of Sudan and South Sudan – rescind the invitation for President Bashir to travel to Chad or fulfill your obligations by immediately arresting President Bashir upon arrival. Please contact Angela Chang ([email protected]) if you would like to discuss this matter further. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Amnesty International USA
International Justice Project
Physicians for Human Rights
United to End Genocide
CC: H.E. Ambassador Ahmad Allam-mi