The US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee [official website] approved legislation [press release] Thursday that would suspend foreign aid to countries that host Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [ICC materials; JURIST news archive] who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on genocide and war crimes charges. The provision is part of the Fiscal Year 2013 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, which must be voted on by the full House of Representatives and then reconciled with a separate Senate version. The amendment, passed by voice vote, was backed by Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) [official website], who called it [press release], "an example of effectively utilizing US foreign assistance to further US interests and to support oppressed and marginalized people in Sudan and around the globe."
Al-Bashir remains an extremely controversial figure in international politics for his actions during the Darfur conflict. The Kenyan High Court ruled in November that al-Bashir must be arrested [JURIST report] if he ever returns to Kenya. The ruling was in response to his second visit [JURIST report], where Kenya joined the ranks of the other African countries that have refused to enforce the ICC arrest warrant. The ICC requested in October 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. Last 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. Last May the ICC urged Djibouti to arrest al-Bashir [JURIST report].