KHARTOUM, Sudan, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- The head of the peacekeeping mission in Darfur is called on to avoid encounters with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, a U.N. spokesman said.
Human Rights Watch said in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week after photographs surfaced of Ibrahim Gambari, head of peacekeeping operations in Darfur, speaking with Bashir in Khartoum.
The International Criminal Court considered the situation in Darfur formally in 2005. Since then, it's issued arrest warrants for Assad; Ahmed Harun, a former minister; and Janjaweed military leader Ali Kushayb on allegations of war crimes charges.
The rights organization, in its letter, said that the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations noted Gambari was attending a wedding at the invitation of the Chadian president and had "no control over the guest list," the independent Sudan Tribune reports.
U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky was quoted by the newspaper as saying Gambari was asked to avoid encounters with Bashir.
"Mr. Gambari's attention has been drawn to the letter and to the need to avoid such encounters in the future, however unintentional this particular encounter may have been," the spokesman said.
The daughter of the Chadian president in January married an alleged leader of the Janjaweed militia. The ICC in December referred Chad to the U.N. Security Council for not arresting Sudan's president when he visited the country in August.