ICC wants UN Security Council action on outstanding arrest warrants


Omar Al Bashir recently travelled to countries which recognise the International Criminal Court (ICC) but none arrested or surrendered the Sudanese President, the ICC Prosecutor told the United Nations Security Council.

“I call on this Council to prioritise action on outstanding warrants of arrest issued by the Court,” Fatou Bensouda told the Security Council in New York.

She also said “there can be no justification for States Parties to fail to arrest a suspect against whom an ICC warrant of arrest has been issued, irrespective of that person’s official status.”

Bensouda’s briefing follows a Pre-Trial Chamber II decision that Jordan, a non-permanent member of the Security Council, was non-compliant when Al Bashir visited Amman in March. The Chamber referred the matter to the Assembly of States Parties of the Rome Statute – which established the ICC – and to the Security Council.
“This inaction has the potential to undermine the fight against impunity, the effect of which is to lower the bar of accountability many have fought to raise,” Bensouda said.
“This continuous nonfeasance only serves to embolden others to invite A1 Bashir to their territory, safe in the knowledge there will be no consequences from this Council,” she added.

The Sudanese president last week visited Chad, a country referred to the Security Council for non-compliance on this issue of ICC warrants in 2011 and 2013.

Al Bashir has also recently been in Russia and Uganda, among other countries.

In June 2015, he visited South Africa. While the Chamber established there was no legal or factual justification for South Africa’s failure to arrest and surrender Al Bashir, it decided against referring South Africa to the Assembly of States Parties or to the Security Council.

In 2005, the Council asked The Hague-based Court to investigate war crimes in Darfur. ICC judges issued arrest warrants in 2009 for Al Bashir and other top officials for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in western Darfur, where up to 300,000 people may have died and millions displaced since civil war started in 2003 between government and rebels.