ICC Refers Chad For Not Arresting Sudan’s Bashir

Posted December 14th, 2011 at 8:55 am (UTC-5)
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The International Criminal Court says Chad failed to cooperate by not arresting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir during a visit to Chad in August.

The ICC said Tuesday it is referring the matter to the U.N. Security Council, marking the second such action this week.

The Hague-based tribunal said Monday that Malawi is being referred for allowing Mr. Bashir to attend a regional summit in October.

The ICC has issued arrest warrants for Mr. Bashir on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Sudan's Darfur region.

ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdallah told VOA that as members of the court, Malawi and Chad failed to carry out their responsibilities by refusing to arrest President Bashir.

He said the Security Council and the ICC's Assembly of State Parties will decide what action, if any, to take against the two countries.

Malawi's foreign ministry argued it was not obligated to make an arrest because Mr. Bashir is a sitting head of state and has immunity under international law. But in announcing its action against Chad, the tribunal reaffirmed that countries cannot rely on a claim of immunity in order to refuse making an arrest.

Mr. Bashir has so far avoided arrest by traveling only to countries that will not hand him to the ICC.

The ICC accuses the Sudanese president of masterminding a campaign of murder, rape and other crimes against civilians in Darfur.

Rebels in Darfur took up arms against the Bashir government in 2003, accusing the government of neglecting their region. The U.N. says more than 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict, and 2.7 million others displaced.