KHARTOUM, Nov. 29 — Sudan’s foreign ministry ordered the Kenyan ambassador in Khartoum to leave the country in 72 hours late on Monday in response to a Kenyan court’s issuance of an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
“The Kenyan ambassador has been notified to leave in 72 hours while the Sudanese ambassador in Nairobi has been asked to return to Khartoum,” said Al-Obaid Ahmed Mirawih, spokesman of the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Judge Nicholas Ombija of Kenya’s Supreme Court ordered Monday the arrest of al-Bashir in response to a recommendation by the Kenyan chapter of the International Commission of Jurists.
Ombija said that Kenya was obliged to arrest al-Bashir since it was a signatory of the ICC Rome Statute which stipulates that any signatory country should abide by arrest warrants issued by the ICC.
“I grant the orders sought and direct the minister of internal security to arrest President Bashir should he set foot in Kenya in future,” Ombija was reported to have said.
The ICC Rome Statute was established in 2002. But like many African countries, Kenya used to refuse to implement ICC’s 2009 arrest warrant against al-Bashir.
In August 2010, the Sudanese president visited Nairobi to participate in the endorsement of Kenya’s new constitution despite the warrant. Kenyan officials then said they were committed to the African Union resolutions in this respect.
Since the ICC issued the arrest warrant against him in March 2009, al-Bashir has visited Chad, Malawi and Kenya.
Sudanese envoy recalls from Kenya over Al-Bashir arrest warrants
NAIROBI, Nov. 29 — A diplomatic row between Kenya and Sudan heightened late on Monday hours after a Kenyan court issued orders for the arrest of Sudanese leader Omar Al-Bashir should the Sudanese leader visit Nairobi.
The Sudanese Ambassador to Kenya was recalled and is expected to leave for Khartoum and the Kenyan Ambassador in Khartoum has also been ordered out of Khartoum after an increasingly bitter diplomatic clash.
The steps came shortly after the third highest court in Kenya issued orders to the Internal Security Minister George Saitoti and the Attorney-General to enforce the orders to arrest Sudanese President Al-Bashir if he visits the east African nation.
A source at the Sudanese embassy in Nairobi told Xinhua the ambassador was recalled and would leave Nairobi shortly while the Kenyan envoy in Sudan was given less than three days to leave Khartoum.
Sudan’s foreign ministry immediately issued a condemnation of the decision and indicated that discussions were underway between Nairobi and Khartoum. “We think the decision is more likely associated with the internal Kenyan difference on dealing with the International Criminal Court (ICC) than with the Sudanese affair,” said Sudanese foreign affairs Spokesman Al-Obaid Ahmed Murawih. “The bilateral ties are deeply-rooted and are governed by the charter of the African Union. We are waiting for the outcome of the contacts between Khartoum and Nairobi,” Murawih said at a news conference on Monday.
Kenyan court issues warrant of arrest against Sudanese president
NAIROBI, Nov. 28 — A Kenyan court on Monday issued a warrant of arrest against the Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir as long as he sets foot in the East African nation.
The ruling by High Court Judge, Justice Nicholas Ombija required the government to arrest and hand over Al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.
Justice Ombija also ordered the country’s Attorney General Githu Muigai and Internal Security Minister George Saitoti to enforce the directive of arresting and handing over the Sudanese leader to the ICC if he steps on the Kenyan soil.
“The court hereby issues a warrant of arrest against Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir as urged by the applicant. The order should be effected by the Attorney General and the Minister for Internal Security should he ever set foot in Kenya,” Justice Ombita ruled.
Al-Bashir is subject to two arrest warrants issued by the ICC for atrocities committed in Darfur, Sudan. The first was issued in March 2009 on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The second was issued in July 2010 on charges of genocide.
Kenya is a state party to the ICC. The ICC’s treaty, the Rome Statute, requires states to cooperate with the court, including the execution of arrest warrants.
Justice Ombita made the ruling following an application by the civil society organization, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) Kenya Chapter which last year applied for Al-Bashir arrest on the grounds of a pending order for his detention by the ICC.
Al-Bashir has entered Kenyan territory since he became subject to an ICC arrest warrant, in August 2010, to attend the celebration of Kenya’s new constitution.
Following Al-Bashir’s visit then, Kenyan officials cited the African Union (AU) July 2010 summit decision calling for non- cooperation in the arrest of him as grounds for welcoming him in Kenyan territory without arrest in August.
The visit which was roundly condemned by the international community came as the east African nation was the site of another ongoing ICC investigation, focused on crimes committed following Kenya’s 2007 general elections.
The Kenyan government has pledged full cooperation with the ICC in its investigation in Kenya.
In an affidavit which was lodged at the High Court last year, ICJ Executive Director George Kegoro said that Kenya should enforce two outstanding warrants against President Bashir because Kenya is a signatory of the Rome Statute.
But in his ruling, Justice Ombija said he was satisfied that the ICJ-Kenya has loccus standi to seek the orders because Kenya is obligated to arrest him being a member state to the Rome Statute.