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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chad: Sudanese President Told He is Safe in Chad, Despite Warrant for His Arrest

Chad reassured Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir that he had nothing to fear as he began a visit to the country Wednesday, despite being wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity. Beshir is in Chad to take part in a conference Thursday of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States.


The purpose of his visit, according to Beshir, is to open a new chapter in relations between Chad and Sudan. "We are in a new phase of the history of our two countries, in the interests of our two peoples," he said.
The visit is his first to a country which recognises the ICC which has warrants out for his arrest.
Two arrest warrants have been issued by the ICC for Beshir. Both relate to atrocities committed in Darfur in Sudan. The first was issued in 2009 on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The second, issued earlier this month, extended those charges to genocide.
Chad is a signatory of the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC. This obliges it to arrest any person on its territory wanted by the court.
Chad's Interior Minister Ahmat Mahamat Bachir, however, told AFP "What country has ever arrested a sitting head of state? Beshir won't be arrested in Chad." "Chad is a sovereign and independent state....we are not dependent on the injunctions of international organisations," he continued.

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