South Africa court rejects government’s appeal over failure to arrest Bashir

South Africa court rejects government’s appeal over failure to arrest Bashir

[JURIST] South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal[official website] on Tuesday upheld [judgment, PDF] a lower court’s ruling that the state broke the law by not detaining Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir despite an International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] order to do so. The court stated that the country’s failure to arrest the president was inconsistent with the state’s obligations and unlawful. The state argued[Bloomberg report] that the Sudanese president was immune when he appeared in the country for the African Union summit. They further argued they were not made aware of his exit from the country because the president’s passport was not shown before he boarded a his plane, but the court was unpersuaded.

In September the ICC requested [JURIST report] that South Africa provide an explanation for the country’s failure to arrest Bashir when he was in the country last June. During Bashir’s visit a judge for South Africa’s high court issued an order [JURIST report] barring him from leaving the country. Last March the ICC requested assistance [JURIST report] from the Security Council in affecting the arrest of Bashir. In asking the Council to take “necessary measures” to force Sudan to comply with the ICC investigation, the court noted that without such assistance, the Council’s decision to request investigation into Bashir in 2005 would “never achieve its ultimate goal.” In February of last year African leaders urged [JURIST report] the ICC to drop cases Bashir and Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto or suspend the charges until African concerns are considered by the court. In December 2014 ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the Security Council that her office wasdropping further investigation [JURIST report] into the situation in Darfur.