Friday, August 20, 2010

African Union Releases Decision not to Arrest Al-Bashir

In a recently released decision passed at the conclusion of its bi-annual summit last month, the African Union (AU) declared that AU countries shall not comply with the ICC arrest warrants for Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir.

This decision promotes impunity and stands at odds with the official US position regarding Al-Bashir. Responding to the decision, US Ambassador to the AU Michael Battle stated:

“[…] the African Union’s difference on opinion from the U.S. position does not deter the U.S. from its solid commitment that fair play should take place in all places of the world and people who do atrocious things should be held accountable.”

In addition, AU members South Africa and Botswana have publicly announced that they will still arrest Al-Bashir if he enters their territories.

It should be recalled that all thirty of the AU countries who are members of the ICC have the legal obligation to arrest Al-Bashir and transfer him to the Court to stand trial. Sudan itself, while not a Member State of the ICC, is under a Security Council-derived obligation to cooperate with the Court.

President al-Bashir is currently sought by the ICC for alleged counts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes committed in the Darfur region of Sudan. Earlier in the month, Chad refused to arrest President al-Bashir during his visit to N'Djamena. President al-Bashir did not attend the AU summit in Kampala, Uganda.

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