China Defends Upcoming Visit by Indicted Sudanese Leader

Posted June 21st, 2011 at 10:45 am (UTC-5)
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China is defending an upcoming visit by Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who has been indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity. There has been widespread criticism from human rights groups that want the Sudanese leader arrested to face charges.

Two warrants issued in 2009 and 2010 by the International Criminal Court accuse Bashir of 10 counts, including murder, extermination torture and rape in Darfur.

But Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China has not signed the treaty governing the ICC and admonished critics of the June 27-30 trip, which he called a visit by a long-time ally of Beijing. He also noted that President Bashir has been “warmly welcomed” by other nations during his ongoing visit to other countries.

Amnesty International last week said China's pending welcome for the Sudanese leader will make Beijing “a safe haven for alleged perpetrators of genocide.” The New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch said Beijing will signal its “total disregard for victims of heinous crimes in Darfur” if it allows the visit.


President Bashir's Beijing visit comes ahead of the scheduled July 9 separation of the southern part of Sudan from the rest of the country — a move decided by a referendum held earlier this year. Mr. Bashir's government stands to lose about one-third of the country's land mass and a large percentage of its oil reserves when the south leaves.