The President of Sudan, Omar Al- Bashir, is attending the 27th African Union Heads of State Summit in Kigali without worry of being arrested, despite an international arrest warrant against him for alleged war crimes and genocide.
Mr Bashir is wanted at The Hague-based International Criminal Court for five counts of crimes against humanity, two counts of war crimes and three counts of genocide allegedly committed in Darfur, Sudan.
President Bashir who touched down at Kigali International Airport Saturday morning was promised security before arriving in Kigali when on Wednesday Rwanda stated he will be under diplomatic immunity while participating in the summit.
Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo said Tuesday that her government had received an official request by the ICC to implement the arrest warrant upon his arrival which they turned down.
His visit to Rwanda comes amid previously criticised travels to other African countries including Uganda, Djibouti and South Africa where the arrest warrants were also not implemented despite international pressure.
Whereas the other countries are signatories to the Rome Statute which establishes the ICC and are obliged to arrest him on their territory, Rwanda is not a signatory and is not obliged to implement the warrant.Follow @newslexpoint
The charge for Mr. Bashir
His forces, according to the ICC, allegedly committed crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide by carrying out systematic acts of pillage on towns and villages.
Thousands of women were raped, men and children murdered while wells and water pumps were intentionally contaminated, the indictment reads in part.
This, according to the ICC prosecutor was reasonable ground to believe Mr Bashir acted with specific intent to destroy in part the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups who inhabited the pillaged areas.
Despite these allegations against Mr Bashir, fellow African presidents continue to defend him and criticise the ICC for being impartial. Close to 30 African Heads of State are expected to re-think their membership to the ICC during their meeting on Sunday.
Some civil society officials at the AU Summit have gone on to allege that the suspected crimes implicated against Bashir are “forgeries” that should not be given credence.
“The crimes are politically motivated. They are in the interest of the USA which wants to exploit Sudan’s oil,” Dr Joseph Chilengi, the presiding officer of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council, an advisory body of the African Union, said.
Mr Bashir has been in power since October 1993 and is one of the longest serving African presidents.
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