- Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (L) talks to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (2nd R) and Somalia’s President Sheikh Sharif (R) before the swearing-in ceremony of Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh (2nd L) in the capital Djibouti May 8, 2011 (Reuters)
In an interview with the Doha-basedAl-Sharq newspaper, Djibouti prime minister Dileita Mohamed Dileita defended his country’s decision to receive Bashir despite an outstanding arrest warrant by theICC for him on charges of war crimes and genocide he allegedly masterminded in Darfur.
Earlier this month Bashir attended the swearing in ceremony of Djibouti’s president Ismail Omar Guelleh into a third term.
“Djibouti will not be committed to cooperating with the court regarding the implementation of the arrest warrant, and we demand a halt to the arrest warrant against the Sudanese president and to support peace in Sudan,” Dileita said.
The Djiboutian official described the warrant as a political decision and emphasized that his country rejected it from day one.
He also slammed the ICC judges’ order to transmit Djibouti’s non-cooperation to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) following the visit by the Sudanese leader in order to take any action it deemed appropriate
There was no reaction from the U.S. administration which dispatched the deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Karl Wycoff to be present at the inauguration ceremony.
French officials said that they, and their partners, had “undertaken steps” with their former colony, relative to that country’s obligations to arrest Al-Bashir in line with the Rome Statute that founded the ICC.
They further emphasized that they had no knowledge in advance of Bashir’s attendance.
“The presence of Al-Bashir was not known in advance…..The Minister for Cooperation had no contact with Al-Bashir” French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.
African and Arab regional organizations have rallied behind Bashir and vowed not to cooperate with the court in apprehending him. However, Bashir has been forced to miss several events since the warrant for fears of being arrested and because of international pressure on countries that have been willing to host him.