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Why no Bashir arrest, ICC asks Malawi

Oct. 20, 2011 at 2:15 PM   |   Comments

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- The ICC called on Malawi to explain why it didn't comply with a request to arrest visiting Sudanese President Omar Bashir.

Bashir arrived Friday in Malawi to attend a summit for the regional trade bloc, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa. In a statement, Catherine Ashton, Europe's foreign policy chief, pressed Malawi to arrest Bashir during the visit.

The International Criminal Court said it issued a letter to Malawi before Bashir's visit asking the country to cooperate, as a state party to the court, with his arrest for alleged crimes committed in Darfur. The court said it issued a decision requesting that Malawi submit an explanation by Nov. 11 as to why if failed to comply with that request.

The court reminded Malawi that the Rome Statute that created the court says that state parties that fail to cooperate with the court could be referred to the U.N. Security Council.

Malawi Information Minister Patricia Kaliati told the BBC this week it was an honor hosting the Sudanese head of state.

"He's coming for business and we don't have any business to do with the arrest of President Omar (Bashir)," she said.

The ICC in 2009 issued its first arrest warrant for Bashir on five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes. A second 2010 warrant added three additional counts of genocide.

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