Malawi won’t explain to ICC on Bashir inaction

Malawi government says it will not explain to the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) why it failed to arrest Sudanese President and genocide suspect Omar al-Bashir during a recent visit.

The war crimes court issued a decision requesting Malawi to submit before 11 November ‘any observations’ over its alleged failure to comply with the arrest warrant issued against al-Bashir when he was hosted by President Bingu wa Mutharika during the regional trade summit.

But Malawi government claims ICC did not formally made the request apart from using the media.

Malawi’s Solicitor General and Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Anthony Kamanga, told private-owned Zodiak Broadcasting Station that government has not received any official request from the ICC.

Kamanga: No formal correspondence from ICC received

“But that is not to say Malawi has no position on the matter,” Kamanga told the radio.

ICC spokesman, Fadi el Abdallah, told Nyasa Times that 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.

Kamanga nonetheless said Malawi government is not at all threatened by the November 11 ultimatum.

ICC issued an international arrest warrant for Bashir on charges of genocide and war crimes during the Darfur conflict.

The ICC, the world’s first permanent war crimes court, has no police force of its own and is reliant upon state co-operation to have its arrests effected.

Malawi government spokesperson Patricia Kaliati is on record accusing 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 Mutharika, himself a potential candidate for ICC indictment for crimes against humanity, is opposed to trying African leaders at the Hague-based court.

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