Sudan President Leaves Nigeria Despite Genocide Arrest Warrant - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Sudan President Leaves Nigeria Despite Genocide Arrest Warrant

Posted: Updated:
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on the right Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on the right

By Henry Austin, NBC News contributor

The president of Sudan has been allowed to leave a conference in Nigeria, despite the International Criminal Court calling for his "immediate arrest" on charges of genocide and war crimes, officials said Tuesday. 

Omar al-Bashir is accused of five counts of crimes against humanity, two counts of war crimes and three counts of genocide against the Fur, Masalit and Zagawa tribes in Darfur, where the U.N. estimates 200,000 people have been killed.

Two arrest warrants have been issued for the former army brigadier, who came to power in 1989 after leading a bloodless military coup.  

But while many African countries - including South Africa, Kenya and Malawi - have threatened to act on the warrant, Nigeria allowed him to attend Monday's one-day African Union HIV/Aids summit.

This was in keeping with 2009 vote by African Union states not to cooperate with ICC indictments, a Nigerian official told Reuters.

African enthusiasm for the court has waned over the years, partly owing to a perception that prosecutors disproportionately target African leaders - an accusation the ICC denies.  

Bashir's press secretary and his Nigerian hosts denied local media reports that he left the conference early.

"President Bashir returned normally to Khartoum after participating in the summit in Abuja to resume his work," Emad Said, told Reuters. 

The ICC noted that it could refer the Nigerian government to the U.N. Security Council for failing to execute an order of the court, of which Nigeria is a member.

A spokesman said a report would be written and the judges would ultimately decide on the appropriate course of action.   

Human rights groups in Nigeria had filed a suit with the Federal High Court in the capital Abuja, demanding he be arrested and handed over to the ICC.   

"The judiciary in this country has the responsibility to implement legal obligations created by treaties undertaken by Nigeria," the Nigeria Coalition on the International Criminal Court said in a statement.

But Chino Odiawu, a spokesman for the group, said that they hadn't been able to get a local warrant before al-Bashir left the country, although he was confident that it would have been granted.

"It was extremely frustrating," he said. "But we will keep going until we get justice for the people of Darfur."   

Nigeria has been forced in the past to hand over the former Liberian president, Charles Taylor, the warlord who began Sudan's devastating civil war in 1989.

The country had promised him a safe haven if he resigned, but in 2006 they succumbed to huge international pressure to hand him over. He was subsequently sentenced to 50 years in jail at the international Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague.  

Elise Keppler a Human Rights Watch spokeswoman, said al-Bashir "was feeling the heat of the intense pressure for his arrest."

"Business as usual is over for this head of state suspected of the most serious crimes committed in Darfur," she said. 

"Nigeria and other governments need to play their part in seeing justice done by taking him into custody and surrendering him to the ICC."

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS: Hobo Spider season has arrived

    PHOTOS: Hobo Spider season has arrived

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:37 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:37:17 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Mid August is about the time that we start to see spiders come into our homes, particularly the hobo spider. August and September is mating season for the hobo and that means you may be seeing more funnel-like webs in and around your home. Males are on a mission to find a female which is why they are a lot more active at this time.>>
    KHQ.COM - Mid August is about the time that we start to see spiders come into our homes, particularly the hobo spider. August and September is mating season for the hobo and that means you may be seeing more funnel-like webs in and around your home. Males are on a mission to find a female which is why they are a lot more active at this time.
    >>
  • Man hospitalized after downtown dispute

    Man hospitalized after downtown dispute

    Sunday, August 31 2014 10:09 PM EDT2014-09-01 02:09:05 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - One man is in critical condition after a fight in downtown Spokane early Sunday morning, according to Spokane Police. Patrol officers found the man unresponsive at 2:30 a.m. near the intersection of Sprague and Stevens. Witnesses told police the injured man had walked out in front of a taxi and started a fight.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - One man is in critical condition after a fight in downtown Spokane early Sunday morning, according to Spokane Police. Patrol officers found the man unresponsive at 2:30 a.m. near the intersection of Sprague and Stevens. Witnesses told police the injured man had walked out in front of a taxi and started a fight.>>
  • Throwback Thursday! Look At 'Sunshine Shelly' Through The Years!

    Throwback Thursday! Look At 'Sunshine Shelly' Through The Years!

    Thursday, March 20 2014 1:04 PM EDT2014-03-20 17:04:11 GMT
    KHQ.COM - It's throwback Thursday! Here is a slideshow we would like to share of Shelly Monahan through the years! For those of you who have been in Spokane for many years, and saw her through her "Sunshine Shelly" days, you will probably remember the Shelly from back in those days. Enjoy!>>
    KHQ.COM - It's throwback Thursday! Here is a slideshow we would like to share of Shelly Monahan through the years! For those of you who have been in Spokane for many years, and saw her through her "Sunshine Shelly" days, you will probably remember the Shelly from back in those days. Enjoy!>>
  • National NewsMore>>

  • UPDATE: Joan Rivers 'Resting Comfortably' at Mount Sinai in New York

    UPDATE: Joan Rivers 'Resting Comfortably' at Mount Sinai in New York

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:45 AM EDT2014-08-29 04:45:02 GMT
    NEW YORK (AP) - Comedian Joan Rivers is in a New York City hospital, according to police and hospital officials who say she was rushed there from a doctor's office after going into cardiac arrest.Rivers' daughter later issued a statement about her mother's condition.>>
    NEW YORK (AP) - Comedian Joan Rivers is in a New York City hospital, according to police and hospital officials who say she was rushed there from a doctor's office after going into cardiac arrest.Rivers' daughter later issued a statement about her mother's condition.
    >>
  • VA: No proof delays in veteran care caused hospital deaths

    VA: No proof delays in veteran care caused hospital deaths

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 9:11 PM EDT2014-08-27 01:11:37 GMT
    KHQ.COM- The Department of Veterans Affairs says there's no proof that delays in care caused any deaths at the VA hospital in Phoenix, Ariz.Revelations that as many as 40 veterans died while awaiting care rocked the agency this past spring, bringing to light scheduling problems and allegations of misconduct at other hospitals as well.NBC News obtained a draft report from the VA's Office of Inspector General Tuesday. The draft report says while investigators found substantial delays in care an...>>
    KHQ.COM- The Department of Veterans Affairs says there's no proof that delays in care caused any deaths at the VA hospital in Phoenix, Ariz.Revelations that as many as 40 veterans died while awaiting care rocked the agency this past spring, bringing to light scheduling problems and allegations of misconduct at other hospitals as well.NBC News obtained a draft report from the VA's Office of Inspector General Tuesday. The draft report says while investigators found substantial delays in care an...>>
  • UPDATE: Sergeant who shot herself at Fort Lee dies

    UPDATE: Sergeant who shot herself at Fort Lee dies

    Monday, August 25 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-08-25 22:58:27 GMT
    Police officer patrols the entrance of Fort Lee in VirginiaPolice officer patrols the entrance of Fort Lee in Virginia
    FORT LEE, Va. (AP) - A commanding general at a Virginia Army base says an enraged soldier with a gun barricaded herself in an office, then shot herself in the head as officials tried to negotiate with her.>>
    FORT LEE, Va. (AP) - A commanding general at a Virginia Army base says an enraged soldier with a gun barricaded herself in an office, then shot herself in the head as officials tried to negotiate with her. Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lyons says the soldier went on a rampage, throwing objects. >>