YADEMA wants Malawi to declare Bashir persona non grata

Youth Association for  Democracy (Yadema) has petitioned Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Mutharika  urging government  not to allow Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir to set his foot in the country again next July to attend the African Union (AU) summit.

Malawi is a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which charged Bashir on ten counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

In a position paper signed by the group’s chairperson, lawyer  Wapona Kita and delivered at the Minister’s office on Monday, YADEMA says   theoretically Malawi is obligated to arrest Bashir should he set foot on its territory and then  hand him to Hague based ICC.

Bashir in Malawi: YADEMA says let him not set his foot in Malawi again

“We wish to remind the Malawi Government that the obligation to arrest and surrender Al Bashir to the ICC is not conditional on who invites him to Malawi but his mere presence in Malawi. It is not the entity inviting but the State Party that will be answerable to the ICC,” said the YADEMA statement.

It says Articles 86 and 87 of the Statute makes it very clear that once a request has been made by the ICC, the State Party is under an obligation to comply.

YADEMA enlightened the Mutharika government that the consequences of failing to comply with a request to cooperate are that the Hague Court may make a finding to that effect and refer the matter to the Security Council of the United Nations .

“The Security Council under Article 41 of the UN Charter has got powers to deploy measures to countries that do not give effect to its decisions and these measures may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations as well as severance of diplomatic ties,” says YADEMA.

The movement notes that Malawi the U.S Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) decision to suspend the US$350 million aid meant to revamp the energy sector comes after Mutharika government allowed Bashir to attend the meeting of the 19-member Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) without apprehending him.

YADEMA says Malawi government’s insistence to host Al Bashir is having “dire economic and diplomatic consequences” on Malawi.

“The suspension of the US$350 million investment in the power sector was expected to provide close to $2 billion in net income benefits to nearly six million Malawians. As a poor nation, we cannot afford to lose such aid under the guise of sovereignty when our very own Constitution recognizes that we have duties and obligations under the law of nations,” says YADEMA.

The youth movement urged Mutharika administration not to host Bashir and that any invitation to be done by the AU Secretariat, should be rejected and declare the Sudanese leader a Persona non Grata.

YADEMA says it is prepared “to go the Kenyan way whereby an Order was obtained in the High Court, forcing the Minister of Home Affairs to issue a Provisional Warrant of Arrest for Al Bashir.”

The Foreign Minister told a weekly Saturday that President Mutharika’s cabinet will decide if Bashir can attend the AU summit in July.

“This is a big decision and the whole government machinery needs to sit down to decide whether to allow, deny entry or arrest al-Bashir if he comes again,” the Foreign Minister told the Weekend Nation newspaper.

“I am just a foreign minister. I am too small for this. This is a big decision… Let’s wait and see what happens,” said the minister, who is a brother of President Mutharika and the ruling party’s candidate for 2014 elections.

The Sudanese leader is the first sitting president indicted by the ICC.

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