The International Criminal Court (ICC) has called on the Democratic Republic of the Congo to detain visiting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for the charge of genocide in Darfur.
On Wednesday, the Hague-based tribunal urged the Congolese government to “respect its obligations” to arrest Bashir and hand him over to ICC.
The ICC said that it “reminds the Democratic Republic of the Congo of… its obligations to execute the pending decisions concerning the arrest and surrender of Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir to the court.”
Amnesty International’s regional director for East Africa, Muthoni Wanyeki, also said in a statement that Kinshasa should not “shield” Bashir from “international justice.”
Bashir’s “visit to the country is an opportunity to enforce the arrest warrants and send a message that justice must prevail,” added the Amnesty official.
The 70-year-old Sudanese president arrived in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, on Tuesday to take part in a meeting of regional African leaders.
In March 2009, the ICC charged Bashir of perpetrating genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in the Darfur region of western Sudan. He became the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the court.
However, several African states have refused to arrest Bashir during the Sudanese official’s visits to their countries, with many of them arguing that the tribunal singles out Africans for prosecution.
Darfur has been the scene of violence since 2003, when rebels took up arms against the Sudanese government. There has also been tribal fighting in the region. More than 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict.