Amnesty International Calls on Egypt to Arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir Upon Entry into Egypt

Press Release
September 14, 2012

Amnesty International Calls on Egypt to Arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir Upon Entry into Egypt

Sudanese President Wanted for War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity Must Not Be Granted Safe Haven, Says Human Rights Group

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, strimel@aiusa.org, 212-633-4150, @strimel

(New York) -- Amnesty International said today that the Egyptian government should immediately withdraw its invitation to Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and arrest him if he travels to Cairo.

Omar Al-Bashir is due to meet President Mohamed Morsi and other top Egyptian officials as part of a two-day visit beginning Sunday.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued two arrest warrants for Omar Al-Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. The warrants, issued in 2009 and 2010, charge him with criminal responsibility for murder, extermination, forcible transfer of population, torture and rape.

“If Egypt welcomes Omar Al-Bashir it will become a safe haven for alleged perpetrators of genocide,” said Marek Marczyński of Amnesty International’s justice campaign.

“Egypt should not allow Omar Al-Bashir to enter its territory, and must arrest him if he arrives.”

Egypt has previously ignored the ICC arrest warrants. It failed to arrest Al-Bashir during previous visits, including in March 2009, just weeks after the ICC first called for his arrest, and in March 2011, when he met with Egypt’s then-ruling military council.

When the UN Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC in 2005, it urged all states to co-operate fully with the Court.

Although Egypt is not a party to the Rome Statute of the ICC, it should remember all states have a shared responsibility to ensure that persons suspected of genocide and crimes against humanity are investigated.

“In his first address, President Morsi said that Egypt’s values and identity would uphold humanitarian values, especially in freedom and human rights. How can he now shake hands with a man wanted for genocide?” said Marczyński.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.