WHO IS THIS MAN, OMAR AL BASHIR, THAT SOME KENYAN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ARE SO DESPERATELY DEFENDING?
On November 5th 2009, Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga issued a statement which officially committed themselves and the Government of Kenya to cooperate with the International Criminal Court domestically and internationally. They categorically stated: “the Government remains committed to cooperate with ICC within the framework of the Rome Statute and the International Crimes Act.”
The decision by the Government of Kenya to invite Omar Al Bashir, an International Criminal Court indictee, to attend the Constitution Promulgation ceremony renders the commitments by the two principals doubtful. To his credit the Prime Minister Raila Odinga has publicly disavowed knowledge of the Omar Al Bashir invitation, but senior members of his Government, and some from his own political party, are shamelessly justifying Omar Al Bashir’s presence at the Promulgation Ceremony for the Constitution of Kenya last Friday. President Kibaki has not only remained silent, he has left the country for a COMESA meeting in Swaziland.
Some African Heads of State are clearly sympathetic to Al Bashir, and are determined to try and shield him from justice at The Hague. But truth be told if their citizens knew what kind of person Omar Al Bashir is, and what he has been charged with, their citizens would not back them; just as Kenyan citizens have refused to support Kibaki’s invitation to Omar Al Bashir.
WHY OMAR AL BASHIR IS AN INTERNATIONAL FUGITIVE FROM JUSTICE
Put simply, Omar Al Bashir has been charged with a deliberate crime against his own citizens from the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa groups.
The warrants of arrest for Al Bashir lists Ten Criminal Charges against him on the basis of his individual criminal responsibility under article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute as an indirect (co) perpetrator including:
Five counts of crimes against humanity: murder – article 7(1)(a); extermination – article 7(1)(b); forcible transfer – article 7(1)(d); torture – article 7(1)(f); and rape – article 7(1)(g);
Two counts of war crimes: intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking part in hostilities -article 8(2)(e)(i); and pillaging – article 8(2)(e)(v)
Three counts of genocide: genocide by killing (article 6-a), genocide by causing serious bodily or mental harm (article 6-b) and genocide by deliberately inflicting on each target group conditions of life calculated to bring about the group’s physical destruction (article 6-c).
WHAT ARE OMAR AL BASHIR’S SPECIFIC CRIMES?
The International Criminal Court judges considered that there were reasonable grounds to believe that from March 2003 to at least 14 July, 2008, a protracted armed conflict not of an international character existed in Darfur between the Government of Sudan (GoS) and several organised armed groups, in particular the Sudanese Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). Soon after the April 2003 attack on the El Fasher airport, Omar Al Bashir and other high-ranking Sudanese political and military leaders of the GoS agreed upon a common plan to carry out a counter-insurgency campaign against the SLM/A, the JEM and other armed groups opposing the Government of Sudan in Darfur.
• A core component of that campaign was the unlawful attack on part of the civilian population of Darfur – belonging largely to the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa groups – who were perceived to be close to the organised armed groups opposing the Government of Sudan in Darfur. The campaign was conducted through Government of Sudan forces, including the Sudanese Armed Forces and its allied Janjaweed militia, the Sudanese Police Forces, the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) and the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC). It lasted at least until the date of the filing of the Prosecution Application on 14 July, 2008.
• During the campaign, Government of Sudan forces allegedly committed crimes against humanity within the meaning of article 7(1) (a), (b), (d), (f) and (g) of the Statute and war crimes within the meaning of article 8 (2)(e)(i) and article 8 (2)(e) (v) of the Statute, and in particular:
a. carried out numerous unlawful attacks, followed by systematic acts of pillage, on towns and villages, mainly inhabited by civilians belonging to the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa groups;
b. subjected thousands of civilians – belonging primarily to the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa groups – to acts of murder, as well as to acts of extermination;
c. subjected thousands of civilian women – belonging primarily to the said groups – to acts of rape;
d. subjected hundreds of thousands of civilians – belonging primarily to the said groups – to acts of forcible transfer; and,
e. subjected civilians – belonging primarily to the said groups – to acts of torture.
The International Criminal Court judges also found that there are reasonable grounds to believe that:
• Omar Al Bashir, as the de jure and de facto President of the State of Sudan and Commander-in-Chief of the Sudanese Armed Forces at all times relevant to the Prosecution Application, played an essential role in coordinating the design and implementation of the common plan;
and, in the alternative, that Omar Al Bashir also:
a. played a role that went beyond coordinating the implementation of the said Government of Sudan counter – insurgency campaign;
b. was in full control of all branches of the “apparatus” of the State of Sudan, including the Sudanese Armed Forces and their allied Janjaweed militia, the Sudanese Police Forces, the NISS and the HAC; and,
c. used such control to secure the implementation of the said Government of Sudan counter-insurgency campaign.
OMAR AL BASHIR WILL NEVER RETURN TO KENYA
Omar Al Bashir is not the kind of man Kenyans wish to celebrate anything with. Omar Al Bashir needs to face the charges against him in Court and his victims need justice. This man faces 3 counts of genocide by killing, deliberately inflicting on target groups conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction of thousands of his own citizens. Al Bashir is also wanted on two counts of war crimes: specifically, intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population and pillaging – i.e. stealing their herds and destroying their farms. Al Bashir faces 5 counts of crimes against humanity: murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture, & rape. Al Bashir personally ordered these crimes. In total the two warrants of arrest, issued against Omar Al Bashir, list and detail 10 counts on the basis of his individual criminal responsibility under the Rome Statute – This is a very bad man.
No doubt our Foreign Minister, President and other GOK officials have read the 2nd Arrest Warrant for Omar Al Bashir issued only last July 12th 2010. Is this the kind of person they are befriending? Thankfully, Omar Al Bashir fled the country and embarrassed his hosts by behaving like the fugitive he truly is. His hosts embarrassed themselves further by ordering the Nairobi Police to arrest and beat Kenyans who were peacefully protesting Omar Al Bashir’s presence in their country – this on the day the Constitution came into effect.
We have no doubt that Omar Al Bashir will never dare to return to Kenya. We also urge fellow Africans who hate impunity to ensure that he finds no safe haven in their countries. We hail the South African Government for declaring he will be arrested should he try and enter South Africa.
To those few Kenyans who believe that Omar Al Bashir should have been allowed to come to Kenya we urge you to read more about Omar Al Bashir’s crimes: specifically genocide of 3 Sudanese communities here:
Mars Group Kenya
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