Mugabe faces another humiliation

KUALA LUMPUR, Malasyia – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe could suffer another public humiliation in as many days as the Malaysian government plans to withdraw the invitation issued to him and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for the pair to attend an international conference in Langkawi.

Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, said today that he will urge the government to withdraw the invitations because Malaysia has decided to accede to the Rome Statute with regards to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and he also said Mugabe’s well known human rights record was no “encouraging”. But sources said Mugabe’s friends in Malasyia are going to plead on his behalf.

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“I am taking this matter seriously and I want to discuss in the Cabinet because the Cabinet has decided that we should accede to the Rome Statute on President Omar al-Bashir and we all know the issues concerning President Mugabe who has been welcome here over the years.”

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“As such, I would strongly recommend to the government to withdraw the invitations,” he said.

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Bashir, who is widely seen by the international community as a dictator with a bad track record of gross human rights violation, has been invited to attend the annual Langkawi International Dialogue in Putrajaya from June 19-21.

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President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was also invited to the event.

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There is currently an arrest warrant out on Bashir issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide, war crimes and other gross human rights violation.

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Speaking to reporters in Parliament, Nazri said the decision to invite Bashir and Mugabe was not discussed in the Cabinet.

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He said the government, which had decided to accede the Rome Statute, should act in a manner that complies with the statute and he said it was morally wrong for his country to welcome Mugabe in his official capacity.

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Mugabe has had a longstanding relationship with certain elements in the Malaysian political establishment linked to former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, but over the years changes in the country’s politics have left him with no choice but to move his interests into Singapore where he often goes for medical check ups and his daughter is also based there for her University education.

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The Rome Statute is a compulsory binding treaty that needs to be signed in order for any country to be a member of the ICC.

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Nazri himself had announced in March this year that Malaysia had decided to  join the ICC.

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However, Malaysia is yet to ratify the Rome Statute.

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Arrest Bashir

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Earlier, representatives from the Malaysian chapter of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) cried foul at the invitation, saying that it was sending the wrong signal to the international committee about the country’s stand on human rights.

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PGA-Malaysia, which has about 20 members, said today that the invitation to Bashir also served as a litmus test to gauge Malaysia’s commitment to the country’s intentions to join the ICC.

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PGA-Malaysia secretary M Kulasegaran said the members wanted the immediate arrest of Bashir upon his entry into the country.

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“Imagine that after saying we want to join the ICC, we invite the biggest crook in the world while killings are still going on in Sudan…what kind of a message does that send to the international community?

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“He should not have been invited, but its not too late to cancel. But if he comes then please arrest him,” he said.

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The Ipoh Timur MP had also filed a motion for the matter to be discussed in Parliament.

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He hopes to know by Thursday as to whether the motion will be heard.


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