President Mwai Kibaki signed Kenya’s new constitution Friday, describing the occasion as the greatest day since independence in 1963. But the presence of Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir, wanted on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, brought controversy to the event.
Bashir defied an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court to accept the Kenyan government’s invitation, dismaying human rights observers. Kenya is obliged to arrest Bashir as a signatory to the Rome Statute, which established the court.
Newspapers called the new constitution the birth of the Second Republic. Thousands of Kenyans gathered at Uhuru Park in downtown Nairobi to watch the ceremony, cheering as Kibaki held the constitution aloft and slowly turned full circle so all could see.
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