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Uganda: Bashir Will Be Arrested If He Comes Here

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KAMPALA, Uganda — Uganda said Monday it would arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir if he enters the country, an unusual stance after a summit of African leaders denounced the international arrest warrant against al-Bashir.

Henry Oryem Okello, Uganda's minister for international affairs, spoke after meeting with the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, in Kampala.

Police "will ensure that he is arrested" if al-Bashir arrives, Okello said.

Ocampo added: "It is a legal obligation for Uganda to arrest Bashir if he comes to Uganda."

Earlier this month at an African Union summit, Africa's leaders criticized the International Criminal Court and refused to extradite al-Bashir, who has been indicted for crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Sudan welcomed the move, and other Africans said it was a signal that the West should not impose its ways on Africa. But several African leaders appeared to strongly disagree with the AU statement, and Benin Foreign Minister Jean-Marie Ehouzou said Sudan's neighbor and antagonist, Chad, objected to the wording.

Heads of state at AU summits reach decisions by consensus behind closed doors, not from a vote, and it was not clear how the measure was approved.

A fugitive rebel leader in Uganda, Joseph Kony, also is wanted by the international war crimes court. Kony is the leader of the notorious Lord's Resistance Army, which has waged a vicious two-decade insurgency in northern Uganda.

But Kony, who has not been seen in public since 2006, wants clarification on how the government will address charges of atrocities against him and other rebels, mediators say.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has agreed to approach the international court and request that the indictments be withdrawn if Kony signs a final peace deal. But any decision to drop the international charges would have to be approved by judges at the court, who would first want to be sure the rebels get a proper trial in Uganda.

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