BLANTYRE — Malawi’s cabinet will decide if Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir can attend the AU summit in July, despite the war crimes warrant against him, the foreign minister told a weekly Saturday.
“This is a big decision and the whole government machinery needs to sit down to decide whether to allow, deny entry or arrest al-Bashir if he comes again,” Foreign Minister Peter Mutharika told the Nation newspaper.
“I am just a foreign minister. I am too small for this. This is a big decision… Let’s wait and see what happens,” said the minister, who is a brother of President Bingu wa Mutharika and the ruling party’s candidate for 2014 elections.
At a regional trade summit last year, Malawi’s president ignored the outcry at his hosting of Bashir, who is wanted for genocide by the International Criminal Court.
Bashir was among six heads of state at the meeting of the 19-member Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, despite calls from the European Union and international rights groups for Malawi to arrest him.
The Sudanese leader is the first sitting president indicted by the International Criminal Court, which issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region.
Malawi, which gave Bashir red carpet treatment, is a party to the court.
The court in December referred Malawi to the UN Security Council for its refusal to arrest Bashir.