AFRICANGLOBE – A Kenyan judge has issued a warrant on Monday for Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by an international court for genocide, after the government failed to arrest him during a visit last year.
The high court ruling means Bashir’s arrest “should be effected by the Attorney General and the Minister for Internal Security should he ever set foot in Kenya,” Judge Nicolas Ombija said.
Kenya has ratified the International Criminal Court’s founding Rome statute, which theoretically obliges it to execute the court’s warrants, but failed to arrest the Sudanese leader when he visited the country in August 2010.
Bashir attended a ceremony in Nairobi to mark the adoption of Kenya’s new constitution.
After he left the country a free man, the Kenyan chapter of the International Commission of Jurists, an association of legal professionals that promotes human rights, approached the courts to issue a warrant.
“Bashir came in August and we filed (our suit) in October 2010. It was in response to his arrival here,” George Kegoro, ICJ Kenya’s executive director said.
Bashir is the subject of two arrest warrants issued by the ICC for atrocities committed in Darfur in western Sudan. The first was issued in March 2009 for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The second was issued in July 2010 on charges of genocide.
Chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo accuses Bashir of having personally instructed his forces to annihilate the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups in Darfur.
About 300,000 people have died since conflict broke out in the region in 2003, when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated regime for a greater share of resources and power, according to UN figures.
Sudan’s government says 10,000 have been killed.
Bashir had planned a second trip to Kenya, this time to attend a regional development summit that had been scheduled to be held in Nairobi in October last year.
The ICC, then reminded Kenya of its obligation to arrest the Sudanese leader, and requested the government to inform it “about any problem which would impede or prevent the arrest and surrender of Omar al-Bashir in the event that he visits the country.”
This resulted in the summit being moved to the capital of Ethiopia, which is not a Rome Statute signatory.
The African Union has on several occasions called on its members states not to arrest the Sudanese president, accusing the ICC of targeting only Africans and arguing that Bashir’s arrest would hurt the peace process between Sudan and South Sudan.
Bashir took part in a regional summit in Malawi in mid-October after attending an investiture ceremony for Djbibouti President IsmaÃƒ«l Omar Guelleh in May.