India hosts Sudan President Omar al Bashir

India hosts Sudan's President Bashir despite ICC arrest warrant

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Sudan's President Omar al Bashir.

India will host the third India-Africa summit in its capital city, New Delhi, in October to which Sudanese President Omar al Bashir has been invited.

India will host the major summit which will be attended by the leaders of more than 50 African countries including Bashir whose arrest has been ordered by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on crimes charges and crimes against humanity in the Darfur conflict.

According to the United Nations an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 people have been killed in the Western Sudanese Region since 2003 and another 2.7 million people have been displaced by the conflict between the goverment and rebels in the region. The UN’s children’s agency, UNICEF, estimates that approximately half of the people affected by the conflict are children.

Bashir was also hosted by China in September and attended a military parade in Beijing.

Both China and India are not members of the International Criminal Court and therefore do not recognise its jurisdiction.

India’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Vikas Swarup said, "We are not party to the Rome Statute [establishing the ICC]. We don’t have an obligation to comply to it [the ICC order]."

In a written statement the ICC prosecutor’s office told The Hindu newspaper,  "By arresting and surrendering ICC suspects, India can contribute to the important goal of ending impunity for the world’s worst crimes."

India’s junior foreign minister traveled to Sudan in September to invite Bashir personally to attend the meeting which will be held on 26 October.

An African diplomatic source told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday,"The host country has already formally invited the leaders of all 54 states in Africa," and added," African leaders have already demonstrated solidarity against the court – a court that seems to have lost its credibility in Africa."

The source added, "India has no incentive to arrest Al-Bashir since it is not a member of the ICC and therefore not legally obliged to do so."

"Another reason why Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir would not fear the possibility of arrest is that all the countries he would have to cross from Sudan to India are ones that have amicable relations with Sudan."

The African Union had previously warned the ICC to stop proceedings against elected African leaders and even South Africa announced last October that the country wants to withdraw from the court last over concerns that it is biased against African nations.

Bashir recently avoided arrest with the support of the South African government while attending an African Union Summit in Johannesburg.

The India-Africa summit in New Delhi will host nearly 1,000 delegates, including heads of states, ministers, goverment officials, business and leaders from more than 50 African countries.

The summit was scheduled to take place in December 2014 but was posponed by concerns over the Ebola outbreak.

TRTWorld and agencies