The International Criminal Court (ICC) Thursday said South Africa had failed in its duty to arrest Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir when he was in the country but considered its referral to the Assembly of States Parties or the UN Security Council was not warranted.
The ICC issued two arrest warrants against al-Bashir in 2009 and 2010 for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed in Darfur.
Pretoria refused to arrest al-Bashir while he was on its territory between 13 and 15 June 2015 for the meeting of the African Union summit in Johannesburg.
“Today, 6 July 2017, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “Court”) composed of Judges Cuno Tarfusser, Presiding, Chang-ho Chung, and Marc Perrin de Brichambaut who appended an individual opinion, delivered in open session its decision finding that South Africa failed to comply with its obligations by not arresting and surrendering Omar Al-Bashir to the Court while he was on South African territory between 13 and 15 June 2015,” reads the Hague-based tribunal in a press release Thursday.
South Africa is a state member of the Rome Statute of the ICC, and is therefore obliged to comply with arrest warrants issued by the Court.
“The Chamber concluded that, by not arresting Omar Al-Bashir while he was on its territory between 13 and 15 June 2015, South Africa failed to comply with the Court’s request for the arrest and surrender of Omar Al-Bashir contrary to the provisions of the Statute, thereby preventing the Court from exercising its functions and powers under the Statute in connection with the criminal proceedings instituted against Omer Al-Bashir” further added the press release.
However, the ICC said it wouldn’t refer South Africa’s failure to comply with its obligations to the court’s governing body, Assembly of States Parties or the UN Security Council. It based that decision partly on South Africa’s effort to cooperate by seeking a ruling on the case.
Following al-Bashir’s controversy, South Africa government notified the ICC of its intent to withdraw from the Rome Statute but the high court in Pretoria said the move is unconstitutional and ordered the South African president, to retract the country’s “invalid” notification of withdrawal from the tribunal.
However, the South African ruling party ANC and his government say are resolved to withdraw from the war crimes court.