ICC says South Africa had duty to arrest Sudan’s Bashir

International Criminal Court judges decline to refer South Africa to the UN Security Council for not arresting and handing Sudan’s president over to the Hague for war crimes and genocide in Darfur province.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Sudan’s President Bashir (C), stands between Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el Sisi (L) and Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in Jordan. Rights groups criticised Jordan for welcoming Bashir despite an arrest warrant for war crimes, March 29,

South Africa violated its obligations to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by failing to arrest Sudan's President Omar Hassan al Bashir when he visited in 2015, the court's judges said in a ruling on Thursday.

However, the war crimes court judges declined to refer South Africa to the UN Security Council over the matter.

They said South African courts had already censured the government for its failure in Bashir's case.

Presiding judge Cuno Tarfusser, reading a summary of the ruling, said a referral to the UN or the court's own governing body was "not an effective way to obtain cooperation."

War crimes

Bashir, who came to power in Sudan in a 1989 coup backed by the military and religious groups, 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 denies the charges and continues to travel abroad.

Though Sudan is not a member of the ICC, the court has jurisdiction there due to a 2005 UN 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.

Source: 
Reuters