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ICC asks South Africa to explain failure to arrest Sudan president

[JURIST] The International Criminal Court [official website] has requested [order, PDF] that South Africa provide an explanation for the country's failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile]. As an ICC member, South Africa was required to arrest Bashir on his two-day stay in the country during a mid-June summit. Bashir is sought by the ICC on charges of genocide and war crimes in Darfur and other crimes against humanity. After hearing South Africa's submission in a three-judge panel, the ICC judges can choose whether they want to bring the matter to the court's Assembly of State Parties or the UN Security Council [official websites]. Although the US, Russia and China have rejected attempts at placing themselves under the ICC's jurisdiction, rights groups and government organizations in the US have critiqued South Africa's failed attempts at arrest. South Africa has until October 5 to respond.

The ICC investigation into the situation in Darfur has seen little progress since 2009. In June a judge for South Africa's high court issued an order [JURIST report] barring Bashir, who has an international warrant out for his arrest, from leaving the country, but it had no effect. In 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 al-Bashir in 2005 would "never achieve its ultimate goal." In February 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. Last December Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the Security Council that her office was dropping further investigation [JURIST report] into the situation in Darfur.

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