Sudan's president, wanted on genocide charges, says he will travel to UN


President Omar al-Bashir speaks during a one-day summit on oil with his South Sudan's counterpart on Sept. 3, 2013 in Khartoum.


Ashraf Shazly

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said on Sunday he will attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York City next week, despite calls for his arrest by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Human rights groups and Washington have both called for Bashir to account for his alleged part in crimes committed in Sundan's Darfur region over the last ten years.

One senior State Department official said that if Bashir did show up in New York City, he would "not receive a warm welcome."

On Friday, Amnesty International called for Bashir to turn himself into the ICC.

"Sudan’s decision to send a person accused of orchestrating these most serious crimes to attend the UN General Assembly is repugnant and a grave insult to the thousands of people unlawfully killed, millions displaced and countless women and children raped in Darfur over the last decade,” Tawanda Hondora, Deputy Director of Law and Policy at Amnesty International, said in a statement.

But at a news conference on Sunday, Bashir said he had made preparations to make the trip, though its unclear if the United States has given him a visa to travel.

"We booked the flight route via Morocco ... we booked a hotel," he said. "Nobody in the US can question me or hold me," he added. 

The US is not a member of the ICC, so the country is not required to arrest and then hand over Bashir. However, the US has cooperated with the ICC in the past and handed over alleged war criminals.