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Kenya to challenge high court judge's arrest warrant for Sudanese president

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:55 AM EST, Wed November 30, 2011
Kenya's government plans to a challenge court ruling calling for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's arrest.
Kenya's government plans to a challenge court ruling calling for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's arrest.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A Kenyan judge rules that President Omar al-Bashir be arrested if he visits
  • The ruling sparks a diplomatic row between the two nations
  • Kenya's foreign minister describes the ruling as "unhelpful"

Nairobi, Kenya (CNN) -- The Kenyan government plans to appeal a warrant issued by its high court calling for the arrest of the Sudanese president over alleged war crimes.

A Kenyan judge on Monday ruled that President Omar al-Bashir be arrested if he sets foot in the nation again after the government failed to execute an International Criminal Court warrant when he visited Nairobi last year.

The ruling sparked a diplomatic row between the two nations, with Sudan expelling the Kenyan ambassador and recalling its envoy to the nation.

A day after the ruling, Kenya's foreign minister described it as " unhelpful" and pledged to ensure it does not undermine relations between the two nations.

"Since our judicial system provides for right of appeal, we shall carefully look at the judgment with a view to requesting the Attorney General to expeditiously prefer an appeal in the matter," Moses Wetang'ula said in a statement Tuesday.

The high court ruling was the result of a case that the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) brought against Kenya's attorney general and internal security minster in 2010.

Al-Bashir visited Kenya last year to attend the signing ceremonies for the nation's new constitution. At the time, Kenyan officials said their first obligation was to the African Union, not the International Criminal Court.

The African Union opposes the ICC warrants, saying his arrest could destabilize Sudan.

The ICC based in the Hague has issued arrest warrants for al-Bashir on alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes. He has denied the charges and accused western nations of "neo-colonialism."

The Sudanese leader is wanted by the ICC on allegations of war crimes and genocide in western Sudan's Darfur region, where violence that erupted in 2003 left at least 300,000 people dead.

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