July 20, 2010 (Khartoum) — Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by ICC, will travel to Chad on Wednesday to attend three days summit of the Sahel-Saharan states, presidential source told Reuters.
"He will go to Chad tomorrow. He will attend the summit of the Sahel-Saharan states," a source was quoted by Reuters as saying.
The decision came eight days after al-Bashir was charged with genocide by the International Criminal court (ICC).
“This visit proves that we are not (bothered by) ICC steps or procedures as we are not members of the Rome Charter on which this ICC (was) established…and the program of the government, especially and particularly, on the relationship between Sudan and neighboring countries whether in Africa or the Arab world is going on”, Rabie Abdullati Obeid, a leading member of NCP, told VOA.
Chad is a signatory of the Rome statute and it is not clear why the Sudanese president is taking this risky move to attend the summit.
It will be his first visit to an ICC member State.
"We feel confident — we believe Deby is genuine and that he’s respected the agreement with the government of Sudan so far and he’s realized that his interests lie with a good and friendly relationship with Sudan," the source added.
Omar Hassan al-Bashir is wanted by International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
He dismissed the charges as “lies”.
"Implementing the warrant is the state (parties’) responsibility. It’s not a past genocide, it’s an ongoing genocide”, ICC’s chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo said last week.
The Sudanese president is the first sitting head of State to be charged by the Hague-based court.