Sudan’s President, Facing Charges, Scheduled to Speak at UN

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New York, (HargeisaPress) — Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, who faces international war crimes and genocide charges, is on a provisional list of speakers at a U.N. summit of world leaders in late September. If he speaks, al-Bashir would be the first head of state to address the General Assembly while facing charges by the International Criminal Court.

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters Tuesday that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said all U.N. member states have to take ICC warrants “seriously.”

Al-Bashir was also scheduled to speak at the General Assembly’s annual ministerial meeting in September 2013 but the government cancelled his appearance.

The United States made it clear then that it did not want al-Bashir to show up in New York, and human rights groups had warned they would seek legal action against him if he arrived.

Under a U.S. treaty with the United Nations dating to 1947, Washington is obligated to issue the visa as the world body’s host country. The United States has never banned a visiting head of state who wants to speak to the United Nations.

A diplomat at Sudan’s U.N. Mission, who refused to identify herself, said Tuesday: “He is attending” the summit. She gave no other details.

Al-Bashir faces two ICC indictments for atrocities linked to the conflict in Sudan’s western Darfur region, where an estimated 300,000 people have died and 2 million have been displaced since 2003, according to U.N. figures.

In June, when al-Bashir was in South Africa for an African Union summit, a provincial court ordered him to remain in the country while judges deliberated on whether he should be arrested on the ICC warrants. But al-Bashir left for Sudan before the court ruled that he should indeed be arrested.

 

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