Defying ICC Arrest Warrant, Sudan’s Bashir Arrives in Indonesia

Sudan's President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, seen here in Khartoum on February 8, has arrived in Indonesia to attend an international Islamic summit. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

KHARTOUM, March 7 – Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir arrived in Indonesia on Sunday, defying an international warrant for his arrest, to attend an Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit, the Sudanese state news agency said.

The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Bashir in 2009 and 2010, accusing him of masterminding genocide and other atrocities in his campaign to crush a revolt in the western Darfur region.

Members of the ICC are obliged to act on arrest warrants. Indonesia is not a member.

Last year, Bashir cancelled a trip to Indonesia for a summit at the last minute. His plan to attend an Asia-African leaders conference in Jakarta in April sparked protests among rights groups who wanted the president to be arrested.

Bashir, who has ruled Sudan since a 1989 Islamist and army-backed coup, rejects the ICC’s authority. But he had not traveled outside the Middle East or Africa since 2011, until he visited China in September to attend celebrations commemorating the end of World War Two. China is also not a member of the ICC.

In June, Bashir was forced to flee South Africa after a court ruled he should be banned from leaving pending the outcome of a hearing on his possible arrest.

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