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mia farrow

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August 31, 2010

Kenya has deeply tarnished its reputation. It is the first democracy to host a criminal indicted by the ICC for war crimes and genocide

"Kenya will forever tarnish the celebration of its long-awaited constitution if it welcomes an international fugitive to the festivities," said Elise Keppler, senior counsel in the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch. "Even worse, hosting al-Bashir would throw into question Kenya's commitment to cooperate with the ICC in its Kenyan investigation."

Al-Bashir is subject to two arrest warrants issued by the ICC for atrocities committed in Darfur in Sudan. The first was issued in March 2009 on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The second was issued in July 2010 on charges of genocide.

Kenya is a state party to the ICC. The court's treaty, the Rome Statute, requires states to cooperate with the court, which includes the execution of arrest warrants.

"Whether Kenya allows a suspected war criminal into Kenya is a test of the government's commitment to a new chapter in ensuring justice for atrocities," said Keppler. "The Kenyan government should stand with victims, not those accused of horrible crimes, by barring al-Bashir from Kenya or arresting him."

Although the African Union ( AU ) has issued a call for its members not to cooperate in the arrest of al-Bashir, African states - including Botswana and South Africa - have made clear that the call does not trump the obligations of ICC member states to cooperate with the court. An AU decision on the ICC at the union's most recent summit in July itself recognizes the need for ICC members to balance AU obligations with obligations under the court's Rome Statute, Human Rights Watch said.
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