THE HAGUE (AFP) – The International Criminial Court urged Qatar on Saturday to cooperate with its arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir when he visits Doha later this month.
Qatar, which is not a signatory to the Rome Statute that established the court, has invited Beshir to an Arab summit on March 30 despite an international warrant for his arrest on charges of war crimes in Darfur.
“The court counts on the cooperation of states and therefore of Qatar, but it does not have its own police force,” ICC spokeswoman Laurence Blairon told AFP.
“Qatar is not a state member of the Rome Statute, the founding text of the ICC, but it is a member of the United Nations,” Blairon said.
“The (UN) Security Council resolution that requires all states to cooperate with the court therefore applies to Qatar,” she added.
The court has no means of enforcing the warrant on its own, and relies on states to execute it. It cannot try Beshir in absentia.
Many African and Arab states along with Sudan’s key ally China have called for the warrant to be suspended.
Sudanese Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ali Karti confirmed earlier that Beshir would travel to Doha after Qatari special envoy Hamad bin Nasser delivered the invitation to the March 30 summit.
The ICC issued a warrant for Beshir’s arrest last Wednesday on five counts of crimes against humanity and two of war crimes committed in Darfur — its first-ever warrant for a sitting head of state.
The United Nations says up to 300,000 people have died since conflict broke out in Darfur in 2003, when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated regime for a greater share of resources and power.