Botswana faults AU decision over Bashir

photo by Toru Hanai/Reuters
Gaborone — Botswana has said that it does not agree with the African Union (AU) decision to denounce the International Criminal Court (ICC) and to refuse to extradite Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to stand trial for genocide.

The ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Al-Bashir over genocide in the strife-torn Sudanese region of Darfur but the AU has snubbed the court on the matter.

"The government of Botswana does not agree with this (AU) decision and wishes to reaffirm its position that as a State Party to the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court (ICC) it has treaty obligations to fully cooperate with the ICC in the arrest and transfer of the President of Sudan to the ICC," a statement from the Botswana Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Sunday.

The statement said the ICC was established specifically to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community by prosecuting those suspected of committing genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

"The people of Africa and Sudan in particular have been victims of these crimes. Botswana strongly holds the view that the people of Africa, including the people of Sudan, deserve to be protected from the perpetrators of such crimes. This is why a majority of African countries, numbering thirty (30) are State Parties to the Rome Statute," the statement added.

Even before the AU made its decision, Botswana President Ian Khama has previously indicated that when he gets the opportunity, he would arrest Al-Bashir and hand him over to the ICC. Khama said he will arrest Al-Bashir during a visit by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete early this year.

Botswana vice-president, Lt-Gen. Mompati Merafhe and Foreign Minister Mr. Phandu Skelemani are expected to hold a press in Gaborone today (Monday 6, July 2009) on the AU decision to rebuff the ICC. Lt-Gen Merafhe and Mr Skelemani attended the AU summit in Sirte Libya.


More Articles By This Author