By Susan Kendi
A global coalition of civil society organizations has challenged the European Union to put its money where its mouth is by pulling out of an Arab Summit that is to be graced by Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir.
Bashir has come under increasing pressure to resign at home but two ICC arrest warrants that have been hanging over his head are the reason the Coalition for the ICC is demanding that the EU pulls out of the summit — considered important because it ringfences 143.7 billion Euros trade.
The EU-LAS summit co-hosted by the European Union and the League of Arab states is planned to take place in Egypt on February 24 and 25, 2019.
In a press release issued by the CICC on February 4,2019, the Executive Director of African Centre for Justice and Peace studies and Darfuri human rights activist stated that, “Victims in Darfur have yearned for justice for more than 13 years in the face of obstruction to the ICC’s investigation in Darfur by President al-Bashir. We need the EU to press for al-Bashir to appear in The Hague and make clear they will not stand by as he attends EU co-hosted events.”
Irrespective of the two outstanding arrest warrants issued by the ICC, Al Bashir has been travelling and attending meetings abroad, an issue that has been of concerns. Sudan also continues to disobey its obligation to cooperate with the ICC.
The crisis in Darfur, Sudan began in 2003 when the government of Sudan and allied military forces allegedly committed war crimes and crimes against humanity as a counterinsurgency campaign.
At least 300,000 people have died and more than two million people fled and displaced according to the United Nations.
The United Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC in 2005 for investigation.
The EU embraced a decision on the ICC declaring its support and cooperation with the court and commitment to ensure its effective functioning. During the 20th anniversary of the Rome statute held last year, the EU adopted council conclusions which includes cooperating with the ICC on the execution of arrest warrants.
Al Bashir has cancelled several expected visits after calls for his arrest. In 2010, Kenya a signatory of the Rome statute, relocated an international development meeting to Ethiopia to avoid Al-Bashir visiting the country. Two years later in 2012, Malawi moved an African Union summit after the AU insisted that Al-Bashir should be allowed to attend the meeting.