Amnesty hails Beshir warrant as 'important signal' | world | Hindustan Times
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Amnesty hails Beshir warrant as 'important signal'

world Updated: Mar 04, 2009 20:12 IST

Amnesty International hailed the international arrest warrant issued for Sudan's President Omar al-Beshir on Wednesday as an "important signal" to suspected human rights violators around the world.

The rights group called for Beshir to surrender himself to The Hague-based International Criminal Court, or otherwise face arrest for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

"The law is clear. President al-Beshir must appear before the ICC to defend himself," said Amnesty chief Irene Khan after Beshir became the first sitting head of state to face an ICC arrest warrant.

"If he refuses to do so, the Sudanese authorities must ensure that he is arrested and surrendered immediately to the ICC."

She added: "This announcement is an important signal -- both for Darfur and the rest of the world -- that suspected human rights violators will face trial, no matter how powerful they are."

The 65-year-old Beshir faces five charges of crimes against humanity and two of war crimes. The United Nations says up to 300,000 people have died since conflict broke out in Sudan's western Darfur region in 2003.