ICC: South Africa violated its obligations by failing to arrest President al-Bashir



The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday ruled that South Africa violated its obligations to the court by failing to arrest Sudan’s President Hassan Omar al-Bashir when he visited in 2015.

The war crimes court judges however declined to refer the country to the United Nations Security Council over the matter.

They argued that South African courts had already censured the government over its failure to arrest Bashir.

Presiding judge Cuno Tarfusser, reading a summary of the ruling, said a referral to the U.N. or the court’s own governing body was “not an effective way to obtain cooperation.”

Al-Bashir travelled to Johannesburg in June 2015 for the Africa Union Summit, but South African officials said he enjoyed diplomatic immunity as a delegate.

The 73-year-old who came to power in 1989 in a military-backed coup was charged with genocide and crimes against humanity in 2008 over the deaths and persecution of ethnic groups in the Darfur province between 2003 and 2008.

He however denied the charges, and has continued to travel abroad.

Though Sudan is not a member of the ICC, the court has jurisdiction there due to a 2005 U.N. Security Council resolution that referred the conflict to the Hague court.

The judges said both South Africa and Sudan have an obligation to arrest Bashir and hand him over to The Hague for trial.

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