By Ahmed Mansour
“How will President Mohamed Morsy shake hands with a man wanted for genocide after claiming in his first address that Egypt would uphold human rights?” Amnesty International posed the question on Friday in response to news of the upcoming visit to Cairo of Sudanese President and accused war criminal, Omar Al-Bashir.
The international human rights NGO has called on the Egyptian government to arrest the Sudanese president on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Darfur when he arrives next Sunday.
Al-Bashir has been invited to Cairo to meet President Mohamed Morsy and other top officials. However the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants for Al-Bashir, in 2009 and 2010, relating to five charges of crimes against humanity, two of war crimes and three of genocide.
Accordingly Amnesty International issued a statement, saying “the Egyptian government should immediately withdraw its invitation to Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, and arrest him if he travels to Cairo.”
Amnesty International policy and campaign manager Marek Marczyñski stated on the NGO’s website that “If Egypt welcomes Omar Al-Bashir it will become a safe haven for alleged perpetrators of genocide. Egypt should not allow Omar Al-Bashir to enter its territory, and must arrest him if he arrives.”
However the government has rejected the human rights organisation’s call, as it wishes to preserve relations with Sudan.
Sudanese newspaper Public Opinion said “the purpose of Omar Al-Bashir’s visit to Egypt is to reinforce the Sudanese/Egyptian relations that the American government is trying to ruin.”
Al-Bashir visited Egypt twice after the ICC issued a warrant for his arrest, in March 2009 and again in March 2011, when he met with Muslim Brotherhood leaders and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
Although Egypt is not a signatory to the Rome statute, which gives the ICC jurisdiction states which ratify it, the United Nations can require countries to cooperate with the court, and facilitate arrests.