Malawi Responds to ICC Query
Written by Online Journalist Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:51
The Malawi government says has completed response to a query by the International Criminal Court-ICC-with regard to the recent hosting of Sudanese president Omar al Bashir.
Spokesperson for the ministry of Justice Apoche Itimu told Zodiak Online that Malawi is going to submit the response she has prepared on Friday 11/11/11.
November 11, 2011 was the day the ICC had set as deadline for the response it expected to get from Malawi on the matter failing which Malawi was to get unspecified international community punishment. Malawi earlier committed herself to responding to the ICC demands.
Malawi is basically supposed to explain in its submission why she could not comply with a cooperation request to arrest al-Bashir who was in Malawi for a recent Comesa summit.
The ICC said if Malawi did not respond by November 11, 2011, the matter was going to be forwarded to the Security Council after which unspecified action was to be taken.
On complaints that the ICC appeared to be targeting African leaders only, Mr. Abdallah says all actions by the ICC follow complaints from concerned nations hence the perception.
The decision request was issued on 19 October 2011, by the Pre-Trial Chamber I of the ICC.
The request follows access to media reports to the effect that Mr. al- Bashir visited Malawi on 14 October. The ICC Registrar sent a note on the same to Malawi Embassy in Brussels October13.
The note was never answered.
The note to the Malawi Embassy in Brussels was a reminder of Malawi’s legal obligations as a State Party to the Rome Statute and asking for its cooperation for the arrest and surrender of Mr Al Bashir "in the event that the latter would enter Malawi's territory".
The Chamber also noted article 87(7) of the Statute providing that "[w]here a State Party fails to comply with a request to cooperate by the Court contrary to the provisions of this Statute [...] the Court may make a finding to that effect and refer the matter to the Assembly of States Parties or, where the Security Council referred the matter to the Court, to the Security Council".
On 4 March, 2009, Pre-Trial Chamber I issued a first warrant of arrest against Mr. al Bashir, considering that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the suspect was criminally responsible for five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes.
A second warrant of arrest was issued against Mr. al Bashir 12 July, 2010, for three counts of genocide.
The ultimatum from the ICC came hot on the heels of an official concern raised by Republican Congressman Frank Wolf to US president Barack Obama.
Republican, Mr. Frank Wolf. Wolf actually wants his government to completely withdraw the Millenium Challenge Corporation-MCC-program in Malawi.
Mr. Wolf is demanding that Malawi should be dropped from the MCC program because she allowed al-Bashir to enter the country for the Comesa region trade summit.
President al-Bashir was internationally indicted for crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur and has been barred from entering a number of countries for the same reasons.
Republican Wolf is making this demand in letters addressed to President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and MCC Chief Executive Officer Daniel Yohannes.
“[i]t is unconscionable that American tax dollars are going to a country that openly allows someone like Bashir to visit,” Wolf said adding that if funding for Malawi is not canceled, the MCC will be complicit in aiding a genocidal government and should be completely shutdown.
This is coming hot on the heels of a Malawi high level delegation trip to the US and other countries where, among other things, the issue of the MCC program was also discussed.
The US halted the program in Malawi owing to concerns over human rights and governance.
However, Energy minister Mr. Goodall Gondwe told Zodiak Online October 18 that there was no reason for Malawians to panic because of this development as the meeting held between Malawi and the US with regard to the MCC account was cordial and promising for Malawi.
Republican wolf notes that al-Bashir is responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children as “ I have been to Darfur and seen what he has done.
“His brutal ways, however, are not limited to just Darfur. At a briefing I attended this afternoon I heard first-hand accounts of the atrocities that are unfolding in the Nuba Mountains – reports of door-to-door targeted executions based on ethnicity and political affiliation, Antanov bombers indiscriminately shelling civilian populations, mass graves and a rapidly growing number of displaced persons,” said Wolf in the letter to Obama.
He said it was, therefore, it was preposterous that American tax dollars should go to countries who welcome al-Bashir a leader who is hell-bent on maintaining its grip on power, treating civilian populations as mere collateral damage.
“If funding for Malawi is not cancelled, the MCC will be complicit in aiding a genocidal government and should be completely shutdown. The American people demand more from our government,” Wolf writes.
Information minister Mrs. Patricia Kaliati told Zodiak Online on arrival of Mr. al-Bashir for the Comesa summit that calls for his arrest were misplaced as the Sudanese leader was in Malawi for a regional conference that had nothing to do with the genocide.
Malawi is a signatory to a number of United Nations instruments that compel it to adhere to International Criminal Court dictations. -—Zodiak Online
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