WAR CRIMES: Sudanese president runs from Nigeria after demands for his arrest
By Ola Awoniyi/AFP/Sapa
Abuja: Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has left Nigeria after demands for his arrest on war crimes charges, an embassy spokesman said on Tuesday, although he denied the departure was due to the controversy.
Mr Bashir had been attending an African Union (AU) health summit, which was due to end on Tuesday. “He has left. He left in the afternoon (on Monday),” Mohammed Moiz, spokesman for the Sudanese embassy in Nigeria, told AFP. He said Mr Bashir had left due to another engagement.
The embassy spokesman said Mr Bashir, who had arrived on Sunday, had returned to Khartoum, but gave no further details on the other engagement.
Nigeria’s presidency defended welcoming Mr Bashir to the country for the summit scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, despite war crimes charges against him, saying it cannot interfere in AU affairs.
The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2009 and 2010 issued two warrants against Mr Bashir for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide over the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region.
Since Nigeria is a member of the ICC, it technically has a legal obligation to arrest suspects wanted by the court.
Some AU members and officials have criticised the Bashir indictments, and the body has passed a resolution calling on members not to co-operate with the warrants.
Rights activists harshly criticised Mr Bashir’s visit and said they were planning to go to court to try to force Nigeria to arrest him.
Mr Bashir has previously visited ICC member states, including Chad, Djibouti and Kenya, but countries such as South Africa and Botswana have ensured he stays away.
Human Rights Watch has said the AU resolution to ignore the warrants had “no bearing on Nigeria’s obligations as an ICC member”.
Hosting Mr Bashir was an “affront to victims” of the Darfur conflict, Human Rights Watch’s senior counsel for its International Justice Programme, Elise Keppler, said.
The court has been accused by some of unfairly targeting Africans, while others have argued the arrest warrants against Mr Bashir complicate peace efforts.
Rights activists say the vast majority of current investigations came about because the governments where the crimes were committed asked for the court’s involvement, or the UN Security Council referred the situation due to the gravity of the crimes.
“How can the court be targeting if they are responding to direct requests from governments affected or the council?” Ms Keppler said.
She said “even though the claim of targeting flies in the face of the facts, it continues to have great resonance in public debate, likely due to the damaging legacy of colonialism, and it is being leveraged and manipulated to undercut efforts to give … African victims (access) to justice”.
Government forces and local Arab militias were pitted against rebels drawn mainly from non-Arab populations in the conflict in the Darfur region.
In 2008, the United Nations estimated 300,000 people had died because of the conflict, but Khartoum disputes the figure.
Eight lessons of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica multimedia networks, Houston. http://www.usafricaonline.com/2009/11/01/chido-8lessons-rwanda-genocide/
Forthcoming 2013 book: In this engaging, uniquely insightful and first person reportage book, MANDELA & ACHEBE: Footprints of Greatness, about two global icons and towering persons of African descent whose exemplary livesand friendship hold lessons for humanity and Africans, the author takes a measure of their works and consequence to write that Mandela and Achebe have left “footprints of greatness.” He chronicles, movingly, his 1998 reporting from the Robben Island jail room in South Africa where Mandela was held for decades through his 20 years of being close to Achebe. He moderated the 2012 Achebe Colloquium at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.”I’ll forever remember having walked inside and peeped through that historic Mandela jail cell (where he was held for most of his 27 years in unjust imprisonment) at the dreaded Robben Island, on March 27, 1998, alongside then Editor-in-chief of TIME magazine and later news chief executive of the CNN, Walter Isaacson (and others) when President Bill Clinton made his first official trip to South Africa and came to Robben Island. Come to this island of scourge and you will understand, in part, the simple greatness and towering grace of Nelson Mandela”, notes Chido Nwangwu, award-winning writer, multimedia specialist and founder of USAfricaonline.com, the first African-owned U.S-based newspaper published on the internet, in his first book; he writes movingly from his 1998 reporting from South Africa on Mandela. http://www.mandelaachebechido.com/
Margaret Thatcher, Mandela and Africa. By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica, and the first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com. Click for newscast video of London-based SkyNEWS, the global, 24-hour British international tv network’s interview with USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwu on April 11, 2013 regarding this latest commentary http://youtu.be/G0fJXq_pi1c )
Long Live, CHINUA ACHEBE! The Eagle on the iroko. Africa’s most acclaimed and fluent writer of the English Language, the most translated writer of Black heritage in the world, broadcaster extraordinaire, social conscience of millions, cultural custodian and elevator, chronicler and essayist, goodwill ambassador and man of progressive rock-ribbed principles, the Eagle on the Iroko, Ugo n’abo Professor Chinua Achebe,joined his ancestors a few hours ago, at the age of 82, in a peaceful and graceful transition in the warm company of his family.
Reasonably, Achebe’s message has been neither dimmed nor dulled by time and clime. He’s our pathfinder, the intellectual godfather of millions of Africans and lovers of the fine art of good writing. Achebe’s cultural contexts are, at once, pan-African, globalist and local; hence, his literary contextualizations soar beyond the confines of Umuofia and any Igbo or Nigerian setting of his creative imagination or historical recall.
His globalist underpinnings and outlook are truly reflective of the true essence of his/our Igbo world-view, his Igbo upbringing and disposition. Igbos and Jews share (with a few other other cultures) this pan-global disposition to issues of art, life, commerce, juridical pursuits, and quest to be republicanist in terms of the vitality of the individual/self.
In Achebe’s works, the centrality of Chi (God) attains an additional clarity in the Igbo cosmology… it is a world which prefers a quasi-capitalistic business attitude while taking due cognizance of the usefulness of the whole, the community.
I’ve studied, lived and tried to better understand, essentially, the rigor and towering moral certainties which Achebe have employed in most of his works and his world. I know, among other reasons, because I share the same Igbo ancestry with him.
Permit me to attempt a brief sentence, with that Achebean simplicty and clarity. Here, folks, what the world has known since 1958: Achebe is good! Eagle on the Iroko, may your Lineage endure! There has never been one like you! Ugo n’abo, chukwu gozie gi oo!
FULL text of this tribute-commentary at USAfricaonline.com click link http://usafricaonline.com/2013/03/22/long-live-chinua-achebe-by-chido-nwangwu/