Sudan: Bring President Al-Bashir to justice now, says Amnesty

On the eve of the League of Arab States summit in Qatar, Amnesty International is calling on member states to enforce the arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir who is expected in Qatar on Sunday (19 March).

Amnesty International also urges the Arab League to ask the Sudanese government to allow immediate access for humanitarian organisations to Darfur.

Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan said:

“No one, not even a head of state, should be afforded immunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity. There should be no further attempts to delay justice in the case of President al-Bashir.”

President al-Bashir has visited several countries in the past two weeks, including Egypt and Libya, where he was received by government leaders at the highest level, despite an arrest warrant against him from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Contrary to international law, the League of Arab States has already declared that President al-Bashir is considered to have immunity against prosecution as a serving head of state.

In an attempt to obstruct international justice, the African Union and the Arab League have requested the UN Security Council to invoke Article 16 of the Rome Statute, which would require the Prosecutor to suspend the case for one year.

Irene Khan continued:

“That the Arab League has been at the forefront of calling for international justice in the recent Gaza conflict makes it all the more incomprehensible that it should now actively assist President al-Bashir in his efforts to escape justice.

“It should apply the same standard to crimes committed in Sudan as those they are demanding for war crimes and other serious violations of international law committed during the recent conflict in Gaza. They cannot have it both ways.”

Amnesty International said that the US government and European Union states have also applied double standards by actively supporting the ICC arrest warrant against President al-Bashir, while thwarting so far the establishment of a comprehensive UN inquiry into war crimes and other violations in Gaza and southern Israel.

Amnesty International urged the government of Sudan to allow unimpeded access for emergency humanitarian assistance following its expulsion of 13 international humanitarian organisations and the closure of many others in reaction to the ICC arrest warrant. This has left more than 2.2 million people at risk of starvation and serious illnesses unless they receive immediate access to humanitarian assistance.

Irene Khan added:

“The people of Sudan must not be taken hostage by their own government which must guarantee the delivery of humanitarian assistance and the capacity of humanitarian organisations to operate in the region, regardless of the government’s opposition to the ICC decision.”

ENDS

Amnesty International UK media unit information

Eulette Ewart, 020 7033 1552, eulette.ewart@amnesty.org.uk

Sarah Green 020 7033 1549, sarah.green@amnesty.org.uk

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