On Sunday 8 May 2011 President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan travelled to Djibouti to attend the inauguration ceremony of Djibouti president Ismail Omar Guelleh. President al-Bashir is the subject of an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against the civilian population in Darfur. Djibouti is a State Party to the ICC and as such, has a legal obligation under the Rome ICC Statute to arrest any person for whom the Court has issued a warrant.

Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel of No Peace Without Justice

“The ICC judges have issued an arrest warrant for President al-Bashir, having found there are reasonable grounds to believe that he may be responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. For President al-Bashir, it can no longer be business as usual: there are consequences and it is for every State Party of the ICC to ensure the arrest warrant is not simply swept under the carpet.

“No Peace Without Justice and the Transnational Nonviolent Radical Party call upon the ICC and its State Parties to take an unequivocal stand and uphold the commitments they made upon their ratification of the Rome Statute. By hosting President al-Bashir, the Government of Djibouti has missed an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to justice for the victims of the crimes in Darfur for which President al-Bashir allegedly bears the greatest responsibility.

While it is certainly in the interest of President Al-Bashir to expand the range of countries where he is seen to be able to travel with impunity, it does not seem to be in Djibouti’s interest to be considered a safe haven for war criminals.

“We call on all States Parties to stand up for justice and stand up for the victims in Darfur.”

For further information, please contact Alison Smith, phone +32 2 548 39 12, email asmith@npwj.org or Nicola Giovannini, phone +32-2-548-3915, email ngiovannini@npwj.org.