Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (L) and Libya's National Transitional Council's chief, Mustafa Abdel Jalil (R)
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (L) speaks during a joint news conference with Libya's National Transitional Council's chief, Mustafa Abdel Jalil (R) in the Llibyan capital Tripoli on January 7. Bashir on Sunday warned that Libya must be wary of the remnants of Moamer Kadhafi's regime, saying his country was "afraid" for the Libyan people. © Mahmud Turkia - AFP/File
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (L) and Libya's National Transitional Council's chief, Mustafa Abdel Jalil (R)
AFP
Last updated: January 8, 2012

Sudan's Bashir warns Libya of Kadhafi remnants

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir on Sunday warned that Libya must be wary of the remnants of Moamer Kadhafi's regime, saying his country was "afraid" for the Libyan people.

"We are afraid for the Libyan people... the remnants of Kadhafi's regime are still present," Bashir said in the eastern city of Benghazi where the revolt against Kadhafi erupted last February.

Bashir, wanted internationally for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, said that these remnants of Kadhafi had benefitted under his regime and so posed threat to the new Libya.

"They benefitted from the regime. They stole Libyan money and accumulated it. They are present in and outside Libya. They lost their interests, so be careful of them," said Bashir, on the second day of a visit to Libya.

Bashir said Libya was going through a "very critical" period.

"All Libyans believe that the issue is over... but the most important part now is to build the state from zero," he said, adding that the new rulers had the task to set up executive and legislative institutions.

Bashir, who had uneasy ties with Kadhafi's regime, said in Tripoli on Saturday that Kadhafi's ouster was the "best gift" given to Sudan by Libyans. He has previously claimed that Sudan provided weapons to help oust Kadhafi.

Kadhafi, who was also wanted by the International Criminal Court for suppressing the revolt against him, poured arms across the border into Darfur and long sought greater influence in Sudan's ravaged western region.

Richard Dicker, international justice director at Human Rights Watch, strongly criticised Bashir's visit to Libya.

"Omar al-Bashir is an international fugitive from an arrest warrant for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes," Dicker told AFP by telephone from New York on Saturday.

"His arrival in Tripoli sends a disturbing signal about NTC's commitment to human rights and the rule of law," he said of the National Transitional Council now ruling Libya.

Dicker said the rule of law should take precedence over political ties.

"Whatever the political history and ties between the NTC and Omar al-Bashir in the past, respect for human rights, not to mention concerns for hundreds of thousands of Darfur victims, takes priority," he said.

Sudanese rebels seeking to overthrow Bashir have also urged Libya to arrest him.

Libya is not legally bound to arrest Bashir as it is not a signatory to the ICC's founding Rome Statute.

Bashir has been wanted by the International Criminal Court since 2009 on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region.

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