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Malaysia urged to arrest Sudan president for war crimes

Amnesty International [advocacy website] urged Malaysia on Tuesday 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 participate in the Langkawi International Dialogue [official website], hosted by Malaysia later this month. The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official websites] issued a warrant for al-Bashir's arrest in 2009 for war crimes, and later charged him with genocide [JURIST reports]. Malaysia 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. However, Malaysia indicated in March that it intended to become a party state, and, as Donna Guest, Deputy Asia Pacific Director at Amnesty International said, "Malaysia's invitation to Omar al-Bashir flies in the face of its decision to join the ICC."

Last week, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC said that al-Bashir has continued to commit crimes against humanity [statement, PDF; JURIST report] in Darfur [JURIST news archive]. Several countries have been reported for failing to arrest al-Bashir while he has been present inside their borders. In May, the ICC urged Djibouti to arrest al-Bashir [JURIST report]. In October, the ICC requested that Kenya arrest al-Bashir [JURIST report] while he visited that year for a second time. 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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