We, the undersigned Members of Parliament and Lawyers for Liberty, are seriously concerned over reports that the Malaysian government had invited Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to attend the Langkawi International Dialogue from 19 to 21 June.
This invitation is certainly disgraceful and outrageous as President al-Bashir is a suspected war criminal and subjected to arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for mass atrocities committed in Darfur, Sudan. He is charged with the most serious crimes imaginable – of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
Although Malaysia is not a party to the Rome Statute, on 9 February, 2009 the government in its presentation at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UNHRC stated that “Malaysia has undertaken a detailed study and held consultations to study the legal implications arising from the provisions of the Rome Statute. Despite several concerns, Malaysia is fully committed to the principles and the establishment of the ICC and their integrity.”
Malaysia should therefore cooperate with the court, including by executing the arrest warrants. Authorising President al-Bashir to visit Malaysia without executing these warrants would seriously undermine Malaysia’s credibility on issues of justice and it would also send damaging signals to victims of mass atrocity in Darfur and globally.
Although it now appears President al-Bashir would not be attending the event after all due to protests, we nonetheless urge the Malaysian government to send a strong and clear message that he is not a welcomed guest by rescinding the invitation.
The Malaysian government should also re-affirm its commitment to ratify the ICC, and make clear that should President al-Bashir enter Malaysia, he will be arrested on sight.
R.Sivarasa, MP for Subang
Tian Chua, MP for Batu
Nurul Izzah Anwar, MP for Lembah Pantai
N.Surendran, Adviser of Lawyers for Liberty