The head of the U.N. human rights commission has criticised China for failing to arrest Sudan’s president so that he can be brought to trial on war crimes charges. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told reporters in Geneva she was “disappointed” that China welcomed Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir during a visit this week, rather than arrest him to ensure he stands trial. Pillay said that “the whole world favors trial” for al-Bashir for his role in the civil war in Sudan that killed more than 2 million people. China has a duty to enforce warrants by the International Criminal Court, she said, despite the fact that it’s not a member of The Hague, Netherlands-based tribunal. “There is a duty and a responsibility on the part of every government including China to assist the court in bringing to justice individuals who have been indicted by the court,” Pillay said. “It’s disappointing when states do not deliver on this responsibility.”
Al-Bashir, who left Beijing on Wednesday for the eastern Chinese port city of Qingdao, was expected to leave China later Thursday to return to Sudan. Pillay said she could assure everyone, based on her experience as a judge for the ICC, that it would conduct a fair trial. “It’s not like we’re calling for an execution of someone, we’re calling for an arrest of someone,” she said. The International Criminal Court has twice issued warrants for his arrest on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. China is not a court member and says it’s reserving opinion.
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