The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, has said that the International Criminal Court (ICC) request to Rwanda to arrest Sudan’s president Omar Al Hassan Bashir two days ago has been ignored.
President Omar Al Bahir has confirmed he will attend the 27th African Union Summit that kicked off on 10th July to end on 18th July 2016.
The session of presidents who confirmed attendance of the AU summit will start from July 17th to July 18th, 2016 along with former presidents, ambassadors from AU, foreign affairs ministers and various organizations from Africa.
In a press briefing yesterday, Minister Mushikiwabo s aid that Rwanda has no obligation to arrest president Bashir.
“It is a simple problem. Rwanda received African leaders invited by African Union and all invited guests will be here in Kigali. He is welcomed and this country will ensure his security. President Bashir is a president of an African country; he was invited and will attend this summit. As a host country we will receive whoever,” she said.
“ Secondly ,Rwanda didn’t sign Rome statute ,so it doesn’t have rights to arrest whoever .We have considered the ICC request as an intention of distracting us. We have been very busy to the extent that we could not find time for that,” she said.
The AU members are contemplating leaving the ICC.
“Leaving ICC is their right. Countries signed membership voluntarily .I think they can leave through any process granted by Rome statute,” said Mushikiwabo.
She said that declining to arrest Bahir doesn’t mean supporting impunity as a country which experienced genocide.
“Let’s say that International justice is political. Rwanda as a member of African Union, we respect its decisions by all means. It requested UN Security Council immunity for in service presidents alleged of crimes till their tenure expires. We greatly respect guidelines of African heads of states,” she said.
Mushikiwabo said that Rwanda doesn’t support impunity but has to be cautious on politicized justice.
ICC placed an arrest warrant for president Bashir for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed in Darfur since 2003.
ICC released the first arrest warrant of Bashir on March ,2009 followed by the next released arrest warrants of 2010.He is hunted along with the governor of Northern Kordofan state, Ahmed Haroun who was the Minister of Security at the time of violence.
Mushikiwabo said that ICC entered politics other than international justice.
“It can’t be explained how only Africans are pursued by the court for 15 years,” she said.
Mushikiwabo explained that powerful countries of the world manipulate ICC noting that African countries must avoid crimes punished by the court .She added that Africa is strengthening capacities of Senegal based African court which has recently held the trial of Hissene Habre,former Tchad president.
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