Gambia’s President Adama Barrow paid a courtesy call held talks with Sudan’s Omar Al-Bashir, who is one of the most wanted world leaders by the International Criminal Court.
Barrow and Al-Bashir are in Saudi Arabia, where they are performing the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Also with them was Azali Assoumani, President of Comoros.
About two million Muslims, a majority of them foreigners, poured out of the holy city of Mecca this year to observe the fifth pillar of the Islamic faith.
President Barrow is seen as the fresh air of democracy in Africa having defeated despotic ruler, Yahya Jammeh and averted civil war in his small nation.
Barrow also reverted Jammeh’s decision to withdraw The Gambia from the ICC putting him at odd with a majority of African leaders, including Al-Bashir, who is leading a campaign from the total removal of African nations.
Omar Al-Bashir is wanted on war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity charges by the Gambian-born ICC chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda.
The first warrant for the arrest for Al-Bashir was issued in March 2009 and ICC considers him to be at large.
Until Omar Al-Bashir is arrested and transferred to the seat of the Court in The Hague, the case will remain in the Pre-Trial stage. The ICC does not try individuals unless they are present in the courtroom.
South Africa has been found to be in contempt after it failed to arrest Al-Bashir in 2015. South Africa has threatened to withdraw from the Rome Statute as a result.
Al-Bashir has been Sudan’s leader since 1993. He is accused of directing attacks against a civilian population not taking part in hostilities in its Darfur region.
The killings began in 2003, as the first genocide in the 21st century. Unrest and violence persist today.
The genocide is being carried out by a group of government-armed and funded Arab militias known as the Janjaweed.
The Janjaweed systematically destroy Darfurians by burning villages, looting economic resources, polluting water sources, and murdering, raping, and torturing civilians.
More than four million people are displaced and at least two million people have died. Gambian soldiers are part of the 26,000 troops UN troops mandated to maintain peace and use force to protect civilians.
President Adama Barrow’s predecessor, Yahya Jammeh says African leaders like Al-Bashir were targeted. Jammeh refused to step aside and had threatened genocide in Gambia.
Barrow was backed by West African troops to oust Jammeh, who fled to Equatorial Guinea. It prevented the start of a civil war that could have devasted the entire West African region and killed thousands of Gambians.
Gambian soldiers have supported Jammeh’s rule. The army was filled with his loyalists, most of whom were part of a militia group that backed his party.
At least 300 of such men are suspected to have deserted the army and camping in neighboring states with the goal of disrupting the country’s new found democracy and usher in Jammeh’s return.
Al-Bashir is the second dictatorial leader Barrow paid a courtesy call to since coming to power in January. His first international trip saw him visiting Republic of Congo’s Denis Sassou Nguesso.