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Malawi declines to host African Union summit over al-Bashir invitation

The government of Malawi announced on Friday that it will not host the African Union (AU) [official website; JURIST news archive] summit in July after the AU invited Sudanese president and war crimes suspect Omar al-Bashir [JURIST news archive] to the summit. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on genocide and international war crimes charges. Malawian President Joyce Banda [official profile] stated that she wanted to prevent Bashir from attending the summit in order to avoid offending international donors [AFP report] to Malawi. Malawi's government received a letter from the AU [AP report] saying that Malawi cannot choose who is invited to the summit. The summit is now scheduled to be held at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Malawi has been at the center of controversy recently regarding al-Bashir. In December, the ICC referred Malawi [JURIST report] to the UN Security Council [official website] for failing to arrest al-Bashir when he visited Malawi in October. Shortly following al-Bashir's October visit, the ICC requested [JURIST report] that Malawi's government explain its decision not to arrest him. Earlier in October, immediately before al-Bashir's visit to Malawi, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] urged [JURIST report] Malawi's government to arrest al-Bashir when he entered the country.

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