Arab League rebuffs court on Sudan leader

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Arab League rejected an international arrest warrant for the president of Sudan.

Omar al-Bashir will be able to attend an Arab League summit in Qatar later this month after both the Arab League and Qatar rebuffed a request by the International Criminal Court to adhere to the warrant, The Associated Press reported.

Member states must arrest individuals indicted by the court once the person enters the country, but only three members of the Arab League are court members — Jordan, Djibouti and Comoros.

"The court asked Qatar and the Arab League at the same time, but our legal position on the matter does not allow what the International Criminal Court is requesting," said Arab League head Amr Moussa during a visit Monday to Syria.

Moussa said arresting Bashir might negatively affect stability and security in Sudan, and that the Arab League was cooperating with the African Union in a bid to delay prosecution of the Sudanese president for at least a year. The United States opposes the move.

The court issued an arrest warrant for Bashir on March 4 for war crimes and crimes against humanity based on the government-backed genocide in the Darfur region. Bashir responded by ejecting 13 international humanitarian aid groups from Sudan.

On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Bashir would be "responsible for every single death" that occurs due to his expulsion of aid groups. President Obama reportedly will name retired Air Force officer Scott Gration as his special envoy to Sudan this week.

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