n African Human Rights Law Journal - The Al Bashir debacle : recent developments

Volume 15, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



This article deals with the failure of states to comply with their obligation to execute the warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for the arrest of President Omar Hassan Ahmed Al Bashir of Sudan. President Al Bashir is to stand trial on serious charges, including acts of genocide, based on action taken on instructions of President Al Bashir to eliminate nationals of Sudan who are not of Arab extraction. President Al Bashir may be depicted as the Adolph Hitler of Africa by virtue of his efforts to create a Sudanese Herrenvolk and, in the process, causing the death of between 200 000 and 400 000 members of African tribes in the Sudanese province of Darfur and the displacement of approximately 2,5 million people. A special focus of the article is the hosting of President Al Bashir by the South African government in June 2015 at a summit of the African Union in Johannesburg, in blatant defiance of the rule of law, and escorting him out of the country in contempt of an order of the High Court, Gauteng Division. South Africa claimed that its obligations as a member state of the African Union prevented it from executing the warrant of arrest. However, South Africa was compelled to execute the warrant of arrest (a) as a state party to the ICC Statute; (b) because the Security Council had instructed all member states of the United Nations to do so, and (c) because South Africa's own Rome Statute Implementation Act, 2002 requires it of South African authorities. Claiming that President Al Bashir as a head of state enjoyed sovereign immunity is also based on a false premise, since sovereign immunity does not apply to prosecutions in international tribunals. Maintaining that President Al Bashir is immune from prosecution in the ICC is criticised in the article.

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