The President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, is scheduled to travel to Chad this week. It will be his first visit to a country that is a member of the global court seeking his arrest. According to government sources, President Bashir will attend a summit in N’djamena of the Sahel and Saharan states, which takes place Wednesday and Thursday. An arrest warrant was issued by the International Criminal Court for Mr. Bashir in 2009 for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the war-torn Darfur region. Last week, the court added three counts of genocide to the list of charges.
Bashir has travelled to other countries since the first warrant was issued, but never to a nation that is an ICC member. The ICC has no power to enforce its arrest warrant and can only pressure states to turn over suspects. Chad and Sudan have a history of tense relations and have accused each other of supporting rebels on each other’s territory. However, ties have improved recently and earlier this year the neighbors agreed to end hostilities and normalize relations.
Darfur has experienced seven years of war and instability since rebels took up arms in 2003, accusing Sudan’s government of neglecting the western region. What is interesting to note is that this could also be a trap by the Chadian government to settle old scores and have Bashir arrested, but again if Chad makes such move it could ignite all-out war with its neighbour.
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