ICC asks South Africa to explain failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir

Omar Al-Bashir, Sudan President
Omar Al-Bashir, Sudan President

Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC), The Hague, have asked South African authorities to explain why they failed to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in June when he attended a conference.

The ICC asked South African authorities to submit by Oct. 5 the reasons for “their failure to arrest and surrender Omar al-Bashir”.

The tribunal said it has to give full explanation on how al-Bashir was able to leave an AU Union summit in South Africa and fly home.

The Sudanese President had been accused of masterminding genocide in Darfur.

His flight back home was in defiance of a ruling by a South African court ordering his detention under a warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

South Africa, a member of the ICC, is obliged to enforce warrants from the Hague-based tribunal.

The tribunal said in cases where a member of the ICC fails to cooperate, the tribunal may refer the matter to the Assembly of States Parties, the ICC’s governing body.

It can also take the matter up with the U.N. Security Council, which established the court and has the power to impose sanctions.

President Jacob Zuma has defended the decision to let al-Bashir leave the country, saying as a leader, he has immunity as a guest of the African Union.

Meanwhile, Pretoria has said it would review its membership of the ICC and challenge a high court ruling that found the state erred in letting al-Bashir leave.



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