For Immediate Release
September 20, 2013–In a letter to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the IJP requests that the Secretary General waive President Omar al-Bashir’s privileges and immunities under the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations (“Convention on Immunities”) and the U.S. Government’s visa obligations under the Agreement Between the United Nations and the United States Regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations (“Headquarters Agreement”).
According to the letter, “[r]eleasing the U.S. Government from these requirements will allow it to cooperate with the ICC pursuant to Resolution 1593 and enforce the outstanding arrest warrants against President Bashir. This would be a great triumph for international justice.”
The U.N. Security Council referred the ongoing genocide and conflict in Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Resolution 1593. This subsequently led to the Court’s issuance of two arrest warrants against President Bashir for Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and War Crimes. Bashir is now seeking a visa from the U.S. Government to attend the United Nations General Assembly.
The U.S. Government has important obligations as a host country to the U.N. under the Headquarters Agreement. Without a waiver from the Secretary General, the conditions under this Agreement seriously impede the options that the Obama Administration may take against Bashir without running afoul of international law. This means that President Bashir could be granted a visa and travel to the U.S. to attend the General Assembly without arrest, as long as he remains within the headquarters district, as defined in the Agreement. Pursuant to Section 20 of the Convention on the Immunities, the Secretary General has the authority to waive Bashir’s immunity and the U.S. Government’s obligations in connection to the issuance of visas.
President Bashir has been traveling with impunity throughout Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and we hope that this will be his last stop before The Hague.
To read the full text of the letter, click here: UNSG Letter 9.20.13.
Photo Credit: UN Photo/Ryan Brown