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EU urges Malawi to arrest Sudan's president

As Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir visits Malawi, the European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Asthon urges its authorities to arrest him

AFP , Friday 14 Oct 2011

 European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton urged Malawi on Friday to arrest visiting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for war crimes.

Ashton "is concerned by the announced visit of President of Sudan Omar al-Bashir to Malawi," her press office said, noting that Malawi is a state party to the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court.

"She urges Malawi to respect its obligations under international law to comply with the International Criminal Court," her office said in a statement.

Bashir arrived in Malawi on Thursday for a regional trade summit, where he was welcomed with a military honour guard even though the southern African nation has a treaty obligation to arrest him over war crimes in Darfur.

A Malawi foreign ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Bashir would not be arrested.

Bashir is the first sitting president indicted by the International Criminal Court, which issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

"The Court is a valuable instrument of the international community to ensure that there is no impunity for the most serious crimes of international concern," Ashton's spokesman said

"Genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes must not go unpunished and their prosecution must be ensured by measures at both domestic and international level."

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