Lagos, Nigeria - Nigerian NGO Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on Monday asked International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to urgently refer the Nigerian government to the UN Security Council for failing to arrest President Omar al-Bashir and surrender him to the court to face fair trial on the charges against him.
President al-Bashir arrived in Nigeria on Sunday to attend the two-day African Union (AU) Special Summit on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which started in the capital city of Abuja Monday.
The Sudanese leader was given a warm welcome, to the consternation of human rights organisations that have called for his arrest over his indictment by the ICC for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in his country's Darfur region.
“Nigeria is a state party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court having ratified the Statute in September 2001. Under article 87, the ICC Prosecutor can refer a state party that refuses to cooperate with a request from the ICC, to the Assembly of States Parties or, where the Security Council referred the matter to the Court as in this case, to the Security Council,” SERAP lawyer Femi Falana wrote in the petition to the ICC prosecutor.
“President Omar al-Bashir is currently in Abuja attending a conference. SERAP notes that the International Criminal Court already issued two arrest warrants for Omar al-Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. The warrants, issued in 2009 and 2010, charge him with criminal responsibility on 10 counts, including murder, extermination,
forcible transfer of population, torture and rape.”
“Similarly, when the UN Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC in 2005, it urged all states to co-operate fully with the Court. According to the ICC, Bashir's official capacity as head of state does not exclude criminal responsibility or get him immunity,” the lawyer said in a statement made available to PANA here Monday.
Sudan is not a party to the Rome Statute while the AU, organiser of the Abuja summit, has decided not to cooperate with the court on the Al-Bashir indictment.