Turkey should arrest Sudan’s indicted President Omar Hassan al-Bashir if he attends a meeting in Istanbul, Human Rights Watch said, after the European Union urged Ankara to drop him from the guest list.
Bashir, for whom an international arrest warrant has been issued for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s Darfur region, had announced plans to attend an Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) summit in Istanbul today.
Muslim Turkey has not ratified the statute that established the International Criminal Court (ICC), but it is under pressure to do so to bring it closer to EU standards. It has said it will treat Bashir in the same way as any other head of state.
“Turkey’s international image will plummet if it welcomes a man wanted to answer for some of the most heinous abuses against civilians in the world today,” Elise Keppler, senior counsel with Human Rights Watch’s International Justice Program, said in a statement.
“Turkey, after all, serves on the UN Security Council, whose referral led to the warrant against him,” Keppler said.
Bashir has travelled to African countries since his arrest warrant was issued by the ICC in March, but his visit to Turkey, an EU candidate country and NATO member and an important ally of Washington, threatens to alienate Ankara’s Western allies.
Sudan’s Bashir will not attend OIC summit: Turk officials
Sudan’s indicted President Omar Hassan al-Bashir will not attend an Islamic summit in Istanbul as planned, Turkish government officials said yesterday, after the European Union raised objections to his visit.
Bashir, for whom an international arrest warrant has been issued for crimes against humanity in Sudan’s Darfur region, had announced plans to attend a meeting of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) today.
“We have learned that he is not coming,” a Turkish government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity, without elaborating.
Predominantly Muslim Turkey, which is seeking EU membership, had come under pressure from Brussels and international human rights groups to drop Bashir from the guest list.
Pic: President Omar Hassan al -Bashir of Sudan