Sudanese Leader Charged with War Crimes to Visit China

Posted June 16th, 2011 at 7:05 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

China's foreign ministry says Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir will visit Beijing later this month, despite being wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges.

Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters in Beijing Thursday that Mr. Bashir will begin a four-day visit to China on June 27. He said Mr. Bashir and Chinese President Hu Jintao will discuss how to “deepen and expand” practical cooperation in all areas, including the peace process between northern and southern Sudan and the unrest in the western Darfur region.

Mr. Bashir faces the threat of arrest if he travels to any of the more than 100 countries that are members of the International Criminal Court, which wants to try him on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes involving the atrocities in Darfur.

However China is not a member of the court and has never supported its establishment. It does have major investments in Sudan, especially in the oil sector.

Mr. Bashir had also planned to visit Malaysia for a three-day economic forum beginning Sunday, but that trip was canceled Wednesday following public objections from human rights groups. Malaysia announced this year that it wants to join the ICC.

The arrest warrants for Mr. Bashir are the first ever issued by the ICC for a head of state. Any ICC member state is obliged to arrest Mr. Bashir if he visits that country.