29 March 2012
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Marietje Schaake (ALDE) , Norica Nicolai (ALDE) , Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE) , Edward McMillan-Scott (ALDE) and Ivo Vajgl (ALDE)
Subject: VP/HR — Participation of Omar al-Bashir in Arab League Summit on Syria
It has been reported(1) that the Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir will travel to Iraq this week to participate in the League of Arab States (LAS) Summit during which, among other things, the ongoing violence in Syria will be discussed. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued two arrest warrants(2) for Mr al-Bashir, indicting him on crimes against humanity (murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape), war crimes (pillaging and intentionally directing attacks against civilians) and genocide. State parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Rome Statute) have the obligation to cooperate with the ICC by arresting and surrendering individuals against whom an arrest warrant has been issued by the ICC. Currently only four members of the LAS (Jordan, Djibouti, Comoros and, recently, Tunisia) recognise the ICC. It has also been reported(3) that the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) has officially notified the Iraqi authorities of its intention to arrest Mr al-Bashir should he attend the summit of the LAS. Given that a panel of UN human rights experts has concluded that evidence exists that Syrian commanding officers and officials at the highest levels of government bear responsibility for crimes against humanity and other gross human rights violations against the Syrian population, Mr al‑Bashir’s presence at the LAS summit is highly undesirable, requires EU action and raises the following questions:
1. Can the HR/VP confirm that Mr al-Bashir will attend the LAS Summit in Iraq?
2. Will the EU or its Member States participate in the LAS Summit, in particular the discussions on Syria? If so, will they still be participating if Mr al-Bashir will also be attending and participating in the discussion?
3. Has the HR/VP expressed the EU’s concern about Mr al-Bashir’s participation in the LAS Summit to Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby? If not, why not?
4. Does the HR/VP agree that Mr al-Bashir’s participation in the LAS Summit seriously undermines the LAS’s credibility as ‘Friends of Syria’ and in its calls for President al‑Assad to step down?
5. What concrete actions can and will the HR/VP take to press the LAS and/or the Iraqi authorities to prevent Mr al-Bashir from participating in the discussions on Syria?
(2) http://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/doc/doc639078.pdf, http://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/doc/doc639078.pdf