Navier Pillay Slams China for Failing to Arrest Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir

The United Nations rights chief expressed disappointment June 29 that China didn't arrest Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted on genocide charges, during his visit to Beijing.

Navier Pillay said that "the whole world favors trial" for al-Bashir for his role in the civil war in Sudan that killed over Two million people. China has a duty to enforce warrants by ICC, 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 that have been indicted by the court," She said. "It's disappointing when states do not deliver on this responsibility."

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir encountered U.S. fighters intercepting on his visit to China  

"There is a duty and responsibility of every government, including certainly China, to assist the court in bringing to justice" individuals who are sought for alleged violations, said Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"In this case there's a chance to ensure that Mr Bashir is able to stand trial," added Navier Pillay.

Bashir visited Beijing June 28 and was given a red-carpet welcome by Chinese President Hu Jintao, to the anger of Washington and rights groups. His trip to China was due to end on 30.

Al-Bashir, who left Beijing on Wednesday for the eastern Chinese port city Qingdao, was expected to leave China later Thursday to go back to Sudan. Pillay said she could assure everyone, based on her experience as a judge for the International Criminal Court, that it would conduct a fair trial. "It's not like we're calling for an punishment of someone, we're demanding an arrest of someone," she said. The ICC has twice issued warrants for his arrest on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur, Sudan. China is not a court member and says it's reserving opinion.

The International Criminal Court statutes dictate that any member country should arrest Bashir if he visits. China is not a party to those statutes, nor is the U.S..

"We reserve our serious opinion on the ICC's prosecution against Sudanese President Bashir," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said ahead of the Bashir's visit.

Navier Pillay noted that if Bashir were arrested, he would be brought to stand trial, "it was not like we're calling for an execution of someone."

"I do feel disappointed when governments do not deliver on something that is intrinsic to their national systems - to bring someone to trial," Pillay added.

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