Malawi government says it is not moved by the 11 November ultimatum given by the International Criminal Court for the Mutharika administration to explain why it failed to arrest indicted Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir during his recent visit.
The Hague-based court issued an international arrest warrant for Bashir on charges of genocide and war crimes during the Darfur conflict.
ICC spokesman, Fadi el Abdallah, told Nyasa Timesthat its Registrar had sent a diplomatic note to the Malawian Embassy in Brussels reminding the country of its legal obligations as a State Party to the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC.
The court also reminded the Malawian government that it did not respond to an ICC letter seeking cooperation on Bashir’s arrest.
But Malawi government spokesperson Patricia Kaliati reacted to the ICC statement saying it is “strange” for Hague judges to pressure Malawi when other African countries have hosted Bashir before but they were not threatened with ultimatums.
“It was in 2002 or 2003 when Bashir visited countries such as Ethiopia, Djibout and Kenya but nothing happened, why Malawi?” Kaliati told private radio station Joy FM.
Kaliati who is minister of information said Malawi is not a pioneer of arresting wanted Presidents.
“When Bashir visited Kenya and other countries the hosts clained he went there as a member of African Union summit, so too when be came here, he came because of COMESA summit,” Kaliati said.
Malawi government spokeperson accused the West of turning ICC into a tool of political action not a respectable organization serving justice.
A chorus of Malawian and international rights groups also called on Malawi government to respect its commitment to justice and implement the ICC’s arrest warrant on Al-Bashir.
President Bingu wa Mutharika, himself a potential candidate for ICC indictment for crimes against humanity, is opposed to trying African leaders at the Hague-based court.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :