Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bashir Invited to Museveni Inauguration

The Sudan tribune reports that the Sudanese president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir on Monday received an invitation from his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni to attend his inauguration ceremony on May the 12th where he will be sworn in for a fourth term. It quotes SUNA, Sudan’s official news agency, as saying the state minister for the office of the vice president in Uganda, James Baba delivered the invitation personally to Bashir on Monday. The report however, did not say whether Bashir would attend the ceremony. 

The Kampala-based New Vision newspaper said that 13 presidents confirmed attendance so far including South Sudan leader Salva Kiir who is also Bashir’s VP. Relations between Sudan and Uganda are already strained over Kampala’s support of South Sudan’s independence and allegedly harboring Darfur rebel figures recently. The ICC issue is also one of the reasons for the tension. The International Criminal Court (ICC) charged Bashir with war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide he allegedly orchestrated in the war-torn Darfur region where the United Nations estimates a humanitarian crisis has claimed 300,000 lives since a 2003 revolt by rebels demanding more wealth and power.

Uganda is a signatory to the ICC’s statute and is therefore theoretically obligated to apprehend Bashir once he sets foot on its territory. The Sudanese leader has so far managed to visit three ICC members namely Chad, Kenya and most recently to Djibouti without issues. Sudan’s president has snubbed two conferences in Uganda including an African Union summit since the issuance of the warrant. 

In a related issue, Amnesty International on Monday issued a statement expressing regret over Djibouti’s refusal to arrest Bashir this weekend where he attended the inauguration ceremony of president Ismail Omar Guelleh. Amnesty International has also called ICC to make a finding of non-cooperation by Djibouti and to transmit that finding to the Security Council, as stated in the Rome Statute".

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