Sudan Expels Kenyan Ambassador Over Bashir Warrant

Posted November 28th, 2011 at 8:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Sudan has expelled Kenya's ambassador after Kenya's High Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

The Kenyan court ruled Monday that the country's government must arrest Mr. Bashir “should he ever set foot in Kenya.” Mr. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes and genocide in Sudan's Darfur region.

Human rights groups had criticized Kenya for failing to arrest Mr. Bashir when he attended a ceremony in Nairobi for Kenya's new constitution in August 2010.

A Sudanese foreign ministry spokesman said Monday the government in Khartoum has ordered the Kenyan ambassador to leave the country within 72 hours. He said Sudan has also summoned its own ambassador from Nairobi.

Sudan's foreign ministry had earlier said the court ruling was linked to Kenya's domestic politics and would not affect bilateral relations.

Sudan does not recognize the authority of the International Criminal Court, and Mr. Bashir has flouted the arrest warrants by repeatedly traveling abroad, though mostly to countries that are not ICC members.

The ICC has argued that Kenya is obligated as a member state to arrest the Sudanese president. Officials at the Hague-based court have said that if Kenya fails to comply with the ICC warrant, the court may report Kenya to the U.N. Security Council.

Sudan's government has been fighting rebels in Darfur since 2003. The ICC says Mr. Bashir orchestrated a campaign of murder, rape, and other crimes against civilians in the region.

The U.N. says fighting and related violence in Darfur have killed an estimated 300,000 people and displaced some 2.7 million others.