Sudanese president visits post-Gadhafi Libya

Libya's NTC chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil (R) and Omar al-Bashir (L) during a welcoming ceremony in Tripoli on January 07.

Story highlights

  • Rights group official criticizes Sudanese leader's visit
  • Omar Al-Bashir arrived in Libya Saturday morning
  • The Libyans will not turn him over to the International Criminal Court
  • He will discuss a number of issues with the Libyan government

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, wanted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court, arrived in Libya Saturday to visit with the country's post-Gadhafi leaders.

Libya's National Transitional Council will use the one-day visit by al-Bashir to discuss "unsettled matters" between the two countries, NTC member Mohammed al-Sayeh told CNN.

During the uprising in Libya, Moammar Gadhafi hired mercenaries who came from the Darfur area in Sudan to the Libyan border, al-Sayeh said. As the conflict tilted in favor of the rebels, al-Bashir tried to stop mercenaries from coming through and gave the Libyan rebels some guns and tanks, he said.

There is also the issue of illegal immigration from Sudan into Libya through the country's southern border, al-Sayeh said.

"We had a lot of unsettled matters that we had to discuss with President Bashir," he said.

Libyan authorities, however, have no intention of handing al-Bashir over to the International Criminal Court, where he is wanted for crimes committed in Darfur.

Gadhafi, who the Libyan rebels killed after capturing, was also wanted by the ICC.

The new Libyan authorities said they are willing to work with the ICC on cases involving Libyans.

Richard Dicker, Human Rights Watch's director of the international justice program, said by not turning over al-Bashir to the court, it breaks the spirit of cooperation with the ICC.

"Welcoming to their capital a head of state accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes is deeply disturbing in what it suggests about the new Libyan authorities' commitment to human rights and the rule of law," Dicker said.

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