The Coalition for International Criminal Court (CICC) has urged DR Congo authorities to arrest President Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan, indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), PANA reported Thursday.
Al-Bashir, who is wanted by the ICC for charges, including crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide, is reportedly attending the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) summit from 26-27 February in the DRC.
'As a state party to the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC, Congolese authorities are obligated to arrest Al-Bashir,' the coalition argued in a statement made available to PANA.
“It is unacceptable that the DRC - a party to the Rome Statute - allows Omar Al-Bashir to visit its territory,” said William Pace, convenor of the Coalition for the ICC.
He said: “The millions of victims of the conflict in Darfur, as well as the more than 5 million victims in the DRC who have suffered similar atrocities, deserve justice and accountability.”
Al-Bashir has been declared wanted by the Court since 2009 for war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region.
The coalition further revealed that in 2010, ICC judges issued a second arrest warrant against the Sudanese leader for the charge of genocide.
“Each time a state has failed to arrest Al-Bashir it has shown great disrespect not only for the rule of law, but also for the victims of the conflict in Darfur,” Mr. Pace remarked.
“Kinshasa must now choose whether it will stand with those victims or allow justice to once again go undone.”
Meanwhile, the ICC investigation in Darfur began in June 2005 after being referred to the court by the United Nations Security Council, which had determined the conflict there a threat to international peace and security.
However, the council is said to have subsequently failed to ensure the cooperation necessary for ICC prosecutions to take place, and Al-Bashir has been allowed to make numerous trips outside of Sudan, including several visits to ICC member states.