Rwanda considers ICC request to arrest al-Bashir as distraction

Umar al-Bashir
Umar al-Bashir

The Rwandan government says a request from the International Criminal Court to arrest Sudanese President Oumar al-Bashir is a distraction.

Answering questions from journalists at a press conference at the ongoing 27th African Union Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, Louise Mushikiwabo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Rwanda said the government received a request two days ago from the ICC to arrest and hand over al-Bashir, but it won’t. Indicating that all invited guests are under the protection of the Rwandan government.

“We received a request two days ago from the ICC but we see it as a distraction,” she told the journalists.

She also said Rwanda is not a signatory to the Rome Statute and therefore not obliged to arrest Al-Bashir.

President al-Bashir is among Head of States and governments who are expected at the Summit. He is being sought to stand trial at the ICC for crimes against humanity.

The Summit is under the theme: “2016: African Year of Human Rights with a particular focus on the Rights of Women”.

The AU would launch an African passport during the Summit.

Few passports would be issued to some Heads of State symbolically. After that each African country would enter into negotiations with the AU to start printing their own passports. For instance, the passports would be “AU Passport – Ghana, AU Passport – Rwanda” and so on, the minister said.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi, in Kigali, Rwanda

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