The Sudan News Agency reported that Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir began a two-day visit to Uganda on Thursday, in defiance of an international warrant to arrest him on charges of genocide.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague issued two orders to arrest Al-Bashir in 2009 and 2010 on charges of planning for genocide and other atrocities within the framework of his campaign to crush rebellion in the Darfur region in western Sudan.
Uganda is member of the International Criminal Court, which means it is obliged to implement the arrest warrant.
The visit is the first by Al-Bashir to Uganda since the issuance of the two arrest warrants and comes in the wake of the visit of Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni to Khartoum last year.
Amnesty International called on Uganda to arrest Al-Bashir immediately and bring him to the court.
Muthoni Wanyeki, the regional director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes for Amnesty International said: ”Uganda is absolutely committed, as it is one of the countries who signed the Rome Statute statement, to hand him over to the ICC.”
“The failure in meeting that commitment is considered a violation of its duty and a great betrayal of hundreds of thousands of people displaced and killed during the conflict in Darfur.”
Al-Bashir, who has ruled Sudan since 1989, rejects the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction and has defied the arrest warrant during trips within the Middle East and Africa.
In June, Al-Bashir was forced to leave South Africa in a hurry, a member of the ICC, after a court ruled to prohibit him from leaving the country until a decision was taken in a lawsuit considering his arrest.
In March, the Supreme Court of South Africa rejected an appeal from the government on the verdict of arresting him and said that the state made a mistake to allow Al-Bashir to leave the country, despite the arrest warrant.