Sudan: Open Letter to State Parties to the Rome Statute Concerning President Omar Al Bashir’s Visit To China

Mr. Ban Ki Moon, United Nations Secretary General

His Excellency Amado Boudou, Vice President of Argentina

His Excellency Dragan Čović, Chair of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina

His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia

His Excellency Miloš Zeman, President of Czech Republic

His Excellency Joseph Kabila, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

His Excellency Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia

Her Excellency Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska, Chair of Sejm of Poland

His Excellency Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa

His Excellency Emomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan

His Excellency Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela

29 August 2015

Subject: Call to uphold international justice in light of President Al Bashir’s Upcoming Visit to China

Your Excellencies,

We have received information that you are planning to attend the military parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two in China on 3 September.

Omar Al Bashir, President of Sudan, has also been invited to the event and has confirmed his attendance. We wish to remind you that Al Bashir is currently subject to two arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, and thus call on you to refuse to attend any event where he is also in attendance, as per your obligations under ASP and UN guidelines.

The situation in Darfur, Sudan, was referred to the ICC on 31 March 2005 by UN Security Council Resolution 1593, which resulted in two warrants issued against Al Bashir on 4 March 2009 and 12 July 2010. The ICC holds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Al Bashir is responsible for several counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, including through murder, extermination, forcible transfer of population, torture, rape, attacks against civilians and pillaging.

Under Al Bashir’s presidency, massive and systematic crimes continue to be perpetrated in Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan. Reports of on-going crimes by government forces and allied militia include indiscriminate and targeted attacks on civilians; the use of prohibited weapons including cluster bombs; looting and destruction of civilian property; sexual violence; blocking humanitarian access; mass forced displacement of civilian populations; and attacks on hospitals and humanitarian facilities.

In the context of these ongoing atrocities, we wish to remind the State Parties to the Rome Statute that they have a responsibility under ASP Resolution ICC-ASP/13/Res.3 of 17 December 2014 to “avoid contact with persons subject to a warrant of arrest issued by the Court.” Similarly, we recall that the UN “Guidance on contacts with persons who are the subject of arrest warrants or summonses issued by the International Criminal Court” [1] indicates that “the presence of United Nations officials at any ceremonial or similar occasion that is attended by any [persons who are the subject of warrants of arrest issued by the International Criminal Court] should be avoided.”

Our organisations therefore call on all those invited to attend the commemorations in China on 3 September 2015, particularly representatives of State Parties to the Rome Statute and United Nations officials, to decline the invitation unless the invitation to President Al Bashir is rescinded.

We also urge you, your Excellencies, to call on the Chinese authorities to support UN Security Council Resolution 1593 by withdrawing President Al Bashir’s invitation to the event, and arresting him should he land on Chinese soil. Finally, should President Al Bashir nevertheless attempt to attend the event in China, we call on all States to deny his passage over their airspace.

We thank you in advance for your attention to this important matter, and your firm stance in support of international justice.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Karim Lahidji
FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights

Ms. Katherine Perks
Acting Director / Programme Director
African Centre For Justice and Peace Studies

Ms. Sharon Hom
Executive Director
Human Rights in China

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