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China urged to arrest Sudan president for war crimes

Amnesty International [advocacy website] urged China on Friday to withdraw an invitation for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [case materials; JURIST news archive] to participate in an event there and to arrest him if he travels to the country [press release]. Al-Bashir is scheduled to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao [BBC profile] and other government officials in China at the end of June. China is not currently a party to the ICC's Rome Statute [text, PDF] and therefore has no obligation to the international community to arrest al-Bashir. China is, however, a permanent member of the UN Security Council [official website], which formally referred the Darfur case to Luis Moreno-Ocampo, lead prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official websites]. In joining the council, China agreed to cooperate with ICC decisions. The ICC charged al-Bashir [JURIST report] with three counts of genocide [warrant, PDF] in relation to the Darfur conflict [BBC backgrounder], in addition to seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity that were filed against al-Bashir [JURIST report] in March 2009.

The international community and human rights groups have urged various countries to arrest al-Bashir while he has been present inside their borders. Earlier this week, AI called on Malaysia [JURIST report] to withdraw its invitation to al-Bashir and arrest him if he travels to the country. Similarly, the ICC urged Djibouti to arrest al-Bashir [JURIST report] in May. The ICC requested that Kenya arrest al-Bashir [JURIST report] during an October visit, his second visit to the country in the same year. Previously, al-Bashir had visited Kenya for the signing of the country's new constitution [JURIST report]. Following his visit, the ICC reported Kenya [decision, PDF; JURIST report] to the UN Security Council and the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute for the violation in not arresting al-Bashir. Also following his August visit, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged Kenya to reaffirm its cooperation with the ICC by arresting al-Bashir [JURIST report]. In July, the ICC called for al-Bashir's arrest during his visit to Chad [JURIST report], marking the first visit to an ICC member state since the warrants were issued. The ICC also reported Chad [decision, PDF] to the Security Council and Assembly of States Parties.

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