Amnesty International is reporting today that Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua has issued a secret invitation to Sudanese President Omar al Bashir to visit Nigeria next week on 29 October to attend the African Union Peace and Security Council meeting in Abuja.
President Omar al Bashir has been indicted by the ICC on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. An arrest warrant for President Omar al Bashir was issued by the ICC on 4 March 2009.
Amnesty International is reporting that according to their sources the secret invitation has been given and President Umaru Yar’Adua has apparently given assurances that President Omar al Bashir will not be arrested if he comes to Nigeria. Amnesty state they learned about this invitation through “several reliable sources”.
Nigeria is a party to the Treaty establishing the ICC and is obliged without exception to cooperate with the ICC and arrest and surrender anyone named in an arrest warrant to the ICC. If it fails to do so, the ICC can refer this clear violation of Nigeria’s obligations to the Security Council under Article 87 (7) of that treaty.
However, President Omar al Bashir was also invited to attend the African Union summit on refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons in Kampala by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni but did not attend.
See the Amnesty Report here – http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/nigerian-government-must-arrest-sudanese-president-during-visit-20091023
Image of Omar al Bashir courtesy of Trial Watch – www.trial-ch.org