Sunday, August 29, 2010

ICC in the Media, Update #2

This week's media coverage has been dominated by one topic: the travels of Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan. On August 27, 2010 Omar al-Bashir defied his ICC arrest warrant by visiting Kenya in celebration of its new constitution. Despite urges from the ICC and international community, Kenya failed to uphold its duty as a member state of the ICC to arrest Bashir during his brief visit. In response to this act of defiance, the ICC has reported the incident to member states and the UN Security Council. The Kenyan government initially defended its actions, saying that Bashir was invited because he is a neighbor and inviting him would enhance stability in the region, but the decision has been widely criticized. President Obama has released a statement expressing his "disappointment" that Kenya failed to arrest Bashir, and Kofi Annan has called for Kenya to clarify its position on the ICC in light of its actions. Several members of the Kenyan government, most notably Prime Minister Odinga, have called the decision to invite Bashir 'wrong'. Odinga has stated that Kenya should apologize to the international community, and especially to the ICC, for the incident in acknowledgement of its duties as a state party to the Rome Statute. On the heels of this controversy, reports have surfaced that Bashir will fly to Senegal on Sunday to take part in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Senegal, like Kenya and Chad before it, is also a member state to the ICC.

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