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Kenya court issues arrest warrant for Sudan president al-Bashir

The Kenyan High Court ruled Monday that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [ICC materials; JURIST news archive] must be arrested if he ever returns to Kenya. The ruling was in response to al-Bashir's second visit [JURIST report], where Kenya joined the ranks of the other African countries that have refused to enforce [All Africa report] the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] arrest warrant. The judge explained that as a signatory of the ICC Rome Statute Kenya is obliged to enforce the warrant [BBC report] if given the opportunity. The ICC has issued two international warrants for al-Bashir's arrest on a total of 10 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in connection with the Darfur conflict [BBC backgrounder]. Under the Rome Statute, ICC member nations that do not comply with cooperation requests can be referred to the UN Security Council [JURIST report] for non-cooperation. In reaction to the court's ruling, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry [official website] ordered that the Kenyan ambassador to Sudan be expelled from the country [All Africa report]. The ambassador has 72 hours to leave Sudan [AP report].

Al-Bashir remains an extremely controversial figure in international politics for his actions during the Darfur conflict. The ICC requested last month that the Republic of Malawi explain [JURIST report] why that country's authorities failed to arrest al-Bashir during his widely reported visit there for a trade summit. Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website], in a press release on the day of al-Bashir's visit, urged Malawi to arrest the Sudanese president [JURIST report] and surrender him to the ICC for prosecution. In June, AI urged Malaysia to withdraw an invitation for al-Bashir to participate in an event there and to arrest him if he travels to the country [JURIST report]. Also in June, ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo issued a statement claiming that al-Bashir has continued to commit crimes against humanity [JURIST report] in Darfur. In May, the ICC urged Djibouti to arrest al-Bashir [JURIST report].

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