Nigerian activists filed a suit with the Federal High Court in Abuja demanding that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir be arrested and handed over to the International Criminal Court, which is seeking him on an international arrest warrant.
Bashir arrived in Nigeria on Sunday for an African Union summit on HIV/AIDS, angering human rights groups who said he should not have been made welcome.
Bashir has been charged by ICC prosecutors with masterminding genocide and other crimes during the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region, which has left some 200,000 people dead, Reuters reports.
Several countries including South Africa and Uganda have refused him entry. He denies the charges.
“The judiciary in this country has the responsibility to implement legal obligations created by treaties undertaken by Nigeria,” the Nigeria Coalition on the International Criminal Court said in a statement after filing the suit.
“Nigeria is under legal obligation to execute … the arrest warrants issued … against Mr. al-Bashir.”
The African Union voted in 2009 not to cooperate with the ICC indictments against Bashir. Nigeria’s presidency said on Sunday its decision to allow him in for the AU summit was in keeping with that decision.
However, the main African Union summit this month had to be moved to Ethiopia, which has not signed the ICC statute, after Malawi, heavily dependent on Western aid, refused to host Bashir.
Britain said it was disappointed that Nigeria had chosen to host Bashir. “This … sends the victims a dismaying message that the accountability they are waiting for will be delayed further,” its Africa minister, Mark Simmonds, said in a statement.