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ICC reports Uganda, Djibouti for not arresting Al Bashir

July 12 - 2016 THE HAGUE
The ICC building in The Hague in the Netherlands (file photo)
The ICC building in The Hague in the Netherlands (file photo)

The International Criminal Court has reported Djibouti and Uganda to the United Nations Security Council for failing to arrest indicted Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir when he was in the African nations this year.

The court has been targeting countries that have refused to arrest Al Bashir during visits to their territory. The President, indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the ICC in 2009, was able to visit Uganda in May.

Uganda and Djibouti are State Members of the Rome Statute and therefore obliged to comply with arrest warrants the ICC issues, even for incumbent heads of state. On paper the UN Security Council has the power to sanction Uganda and Djibouti over this matter.

In June however, the court's chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda criticised the Security Council for failing to act against countries that do not arrest Al Bashir, saying it emboldens other states to invite the president.

The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Al Bashir in 2009 for crimes against humanity and war crimes for allegedly orchestrating atrocities in Darfur. The court added genocide to the charges against him in 2010.

In the past, Al Bashir was in recent times able to travel to Indonesia, India, and China. Only in South Africa the Sudanese President broke a sweat when he attended an African Union summit on 14 and 15 June. He narrowly escaped to Sudan that last day as a South African provincial court ordered that he should remain in the country while judges deliberated on whether he should be arrested and handed to the ICC.

South Africa is a signatory to the ICC statute, and the court demanded the nation to respond why it had not arrested Al Bashir. The South African Supreme Court ruled last March that the government was indeed obliged to cooperate with the ICC by arresting the Sudanese President. The judge then suggested there was reason to believe that the South African government had committed a crime by ignoring the court order.

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