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AU summit moves to Ethiopia after Malawi refuses to host

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malawi AUThe AU Summit this year has already met controversy as intended host Malawi declined to host the July event because it would be forced by the AU to invite Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Instead, the Summit will be held in Ethiopia's Addis Ababa.

As a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Malawi would have been obligated to arrest Bashir on charges laid by the ICC for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. In addition, the ICC's chief prosecutor has asked for aid cuts and suspensions to countries who fail to arrest Bashir as he enters their region, putting almost 40% of Malawi's income under threat.

Malawian Vice President Khumbo Kachali confirmed the decision by saying, “The African Union position is that if we are not willing to receive President al-Bashir they will move the summit of Malawi. Cabinet therefore took a decision that Malawi will not be hosting the summit and we have informed the African Union commission."

Malawi now joins Zambia and South Africa, fellow ICC members who have openly confirmed they would arrest Bashir should he enter their borders. Despite the ICC warrant, Bashir has safely visited other ICC member states, Kenya and Chad previously.

The ICC has moved forward with the desire to charge Bashir following a 2010 court decision that deemed there was enough evidence to try Bashir for his alleged crimes. Bashir is the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the ICC. In addition, further evidence suggests that the sudanese government has embezzeled over $9 billion in state funds.

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