Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir recently traveled to Jordan for the 28th summit of the Arab League. His presence was a stark contrast to 2014, when Jordan did not allow him to enter Amman, the capital of Jordan, to attend the summit. The reason for the ban was the pending arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Since 2009, al-Bashir is wanted for five counts of crimes against humanity, two counts of war crimes, and three counts of genocide.
Jordan has always been known as the Arab world’s leader in providing a safe haven for refugees. The country has taken in thousands of Iraqis, Palestinians, and Syrians as they fled war zones. However, the Jordanian Government should not allow a war criminal such as Omar al-Bashir to enter the country without facing the consequences of an international arrest warrant.
As recently as January 2016, President al-Bashir’s regime used chemical weapons against civilians in Darfur and the Nuba mountains killing nearly 250 people – mostly women and children. Additionally, it is a well-known fact that the regime has sponsored terrorism, welcoming Al Qaeda into the country in the 1990s, and more recently arming terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Islamic jihadist groups. All of these blatant violations of international law are good reasons for al-Bashir’s immediate arrest and ban from international conferences such as the Arab League summit.
All states must abide by their treaty obligations and anything to the contrary hurts the ICC’s objectives and aims, as recently pointed out by Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Jordan, as an important player in the region, should stand with the victims of genocide in Darfur instead of aiding a criminal such as al-Bashir to evade justice.