Arusha, November 28, 2011 (FH) - A Kenyan court Monday issued an arrest warrant  for Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Dafur, Western Sudan.

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‘'His arrest should be effected by the Attorney General and the Minister for Internal Security should he ever set foot in Kenya,'' AFP quoted Kenyan Judge Nicolas Ombija as saying.

Though Kenya has ratified the statute that established ICC, it  failed to arrest the Sudanese leader when he visited the country in August 2010 to attend a ceremony marking the adoption of Kenya's new constitution. As a signatory of the ICC's founding treaty, Kenya was theoretically obliged to arrest Bashir when he entered the country.

According to AFP the case was brought by the Kenya chapter of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), an association of legal professionals that promotes human rights. "Bashir came in August and we filed (our suit) in October 2010.

Bashir is the subject of two arrest warrants issued by the ICC for atrocities committed in Darfur in western Sudan. The first was issued in March 2009 on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The second was issued in July 2010 on charges of genocide.

Chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo accuses Bashir of personally instructing his forces to exterminate the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups, AFP further reported.

About 300,000 people died since conflict broke out in Darfur in 2003, when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated regime for a greater share of resources and power, according to UN figures but Sudan's government says 10,000 have been killed.

The African Union has on several occasions called on its member's states not to arrest the Sudanese president, accusing the ICC of targeting only Africans and arguing that the arrest of Bashir would hurt the peace process between Sudan and South Sudan.


© Hirondelle News Agency