Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir safe in Nigeria

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who arrived in Abuja last night for a health summit, should have no fear of arrest, it was learnt yesterday. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued warrants for al-Bashir’s arrest. Nigeria has been urged to execute the warrant, but the Federal Government has said it will not – in line with a resolution of the African Union (AU). The government’s stand is that since the AU has not rescinded its July 2009 Resolution in Libya, al-Bashir has immunity from arrest in Nigeria. According to a top source in government, who spoke in confidence, although Nigeria has subscribed to Article 98 of the ICC, it will stick to the AU decision. The source said: “It is true that Nigeria and more than 30 other African countries have subscribed to the Rome statutes and treaty obligation to arrest al-Bashir, but there is a subsisting appeal to the UN to reconsider the prosecution of the Sudanese leader. “Up till now, the UN has not responded to the appeal of the AU on al-Bashir. So, the status quo remains. Based on the need to enforce status quo ante bellum, the AU in 2009 in Libya passed a resolution on its position on al-Bashir’s trial by the ICC. That resolution, which allows al-Bashir free access to any part of Africa, is still binding on all AU members. The resolution has not been vacated till today. Responding to a question, the source said: “As a leader of a sovereign country, al-Bashir enjoys immunity; we cannot go out of our way to arrest him in Nigeria.” But Human Rights Watch urged authorities in Abuja to arrest him for war crimes charges.


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