GENEVA, Switzerland, July 1 (UPI) -- It's "disappointing" that Beijing didn't act to ensure the Sudanese president stands trial for crimes against humanity, a U.N. official said from Geneva.
U.N. Security Council Resolution 1593 in 2005 referred Sudan to the International Criminal Court after evidence emerged of serious rights violations in Darfur.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Bashir visited China this week after talks in Ethiopia in June.
Human rights groups called on authorities in Ethiopia to arrest him during multilateral talks on the peace process in his country and later asked Beijing to do the same.
Khartoum isn't party to the Rome Statute that created the international court. Neither is China.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in response to a reporter's questions in Geneva that Beijing still had obligations to the court as a member of the international community.
"There is a duty and a responsibility on part of every government including China to assist the court in bringing to justice individuals who have been indicted by that court," she said. "So I think that it is disappointing when states do not deliver on this responsibility. In this particular case there was an opportunity to ensure that Bashir is enabled to stand trial."
China is the largest purchaser of Sudanese oil and a major arms supplier.
The dustup comes roughly one week before South Sudan becomes an independent state as part of a comprehensive peace agreement reached with Washington's help in 2005. Conflicts along the region dividing the north and south, disputes over oil and border demarcation threaten to unravel the peace deal.
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