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Sudan’s President Visits Kenya Despite Genocide Charges

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al Bashir waves as he arrives at the promulgation of Kenya’s New Constitution at the Uhuru Park grounds on August 27, 2010 in Nairobi. (Getty Images)

August 27, 2010

(KATAKAMI / VOA)  Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir attended the dedication ceremony of Kenya’s new constitution on Friday in Nairobi – even though the International Criminal Court has ordered his arrest on genocide and war crimes charges.

Kenya is a member state of the ICC, requiring the nation to cooperate with the court.

A spokeswoman for the U.S.-based group Human Rights Watch said Mr. Bashir’s presence at the ceremony will forever tarnish the historic celebration of Kenya’s new constitution.

The ICC issued warrants for Mr. Bashir last year on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s Darfur region.  Last month, the court added genocide charges.

ICC prosecutors say President Bashir has masterminded a campaign of murder, rape and other crimes against civilians in Darfur, where his government has been fighting rebels since 2003.  Sudan denies the charges and refuses to recognize the court.

The United Nations says fighting and related violence in Darfur has killed 300,000 people and displaced more than 2.7 million.  Sudan puts the death toll at 10,000.

Last month, President  Bashir went to Chad, his first visit to a country that recognizes the International Criminal Court seeking his arrest.

Chad refused to detain the Sudanese president who returned home.

Mr. Bashir has ruled Sudan since seizing power in a 1989 coup.

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