Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) strongly condemns the hosting and welcoming of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to Libya by the National Transitional Council (NTC). President al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for several counts of crimes against humanity and genocide crimes, and has been indicted for ordering mass murder, rape and torture in Darfur.
On March 4, 2009 the ICC issued an arrest warrant for President al-Bashir. As presented in the ICC arrest warrant, Government of Sudan forces, including the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Sudanese Police Force, committed “crimes against humanity consisting of murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape.” The findings of the ICC state the role of Omar Al Bashir in such crimes “went beyond coordinating the design and implementation of the common plan; that he was in full control of all branches of the apparatus." More than 200,000 civilians died in the Darfur region as well as 2.5 million more civilians were displaced under al-Bashir’s command as President.
The National Transitional Council’s (NTC) decision to invite and host a fugitive implicated in committing the most serious and atrocious human rights violations was unjustifiable and immoral. This decision supports impunity for criminal behavior and threatens the core of building Libya on solid foundations of the rule of law as it moves toward becoming an active member of the international community.
LFJL would like to remind the NTC that it has committed itself on behalf of the Libyan people to upholding human rights and respecting international law. Allowing President al-Bashir within Libyan borders on cordial terms questions that commitment. Despite the Security Council referral, al-Bashir has avoided arrest, traveling to countries that do not recognize the Rome Statute or respect these international standards. Libya must not head down a similar path of impunity and disregard for human rights crimes committed in the international community.
After decades of enduring crimes committed by the Gaddafi regime, such blatant disrespect by the NTC towards the international legal processes as that of the ICC tarnishes the memory of the tens of thousands that have died and been tortured not only in Libya and Sudan, but throughout the world.