Today, Sudanese President Omar al –Bashir arrived in Malawi to attend Friday’s annual summit of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa. As a state party to the International Criminal Court, Malawi has a responsibility under international law to arrest Bashir; unfortunately, they have welcomed him with open arms. Below is a letter from United to End Genocide’s Executive Director Bama Athreya to the ambassadors at the Malawi Mission the UN and Embassy in Washington, DC on Malawi’s decision to allow Bashir to visit the country and encouraging the government to fulfill their obligations to international law and justice by arresting Bashir. United to End Genocide also issued a press release condemning the Malawian government for allowing a wanted war criminal into their country.
October 13, 2011
Your Excellency Ambassadors Matenje and Bowler:
We are writing to convey our deep concern about the Malawian government’s decision to welcome Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to Lilongwe. As a state party to the International Criminal Court, Malawi must fulfill their commitments to international law and justice and arrest President Bashir who continues to target his own people.
As you know, the International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for President Bashir on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur. Not only is Bashir responsible for the deaths of 300,000 people in Darfur, but he is also currently committing atrocities against civilians in South Kordofan and Blue Nile as we speak. His indiscriminate bombing of civilians and blocking of food aid has displaced over half a million people this year and is setting up a humanitarian catastrophe that could threaten over a million people. In light of the continuing violence against civilians in Sudan, it is essential that Malawi, a signatory to the International Criminal Court, demonstrate the countries dedication to civilian protection and international justice by arresting Omar al Bashir.
Malawi’s decision sends a dangerous message to the world and to would be perpetrators of mass atrocities. As justice and accountability are critical components for lasting peace, we urge Malawi to fulfill their obligation to international law and justice by carrying out the arrest warrant for President Bashir.
United to End Genocide