Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court [official website] in The Hague, Netherlands called on judges to hold South Africa accountable for failing to arrest Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir [government website] when he visited the country in 2015. Two arrest warrants [text, PDF; second warrant, PDF] have been issued for Al-Bashir involving numerous charges [materials] including “crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of genocide.” Dire Tladi, a law professor and legal representative for South Africa, said [article, PDF] that arresting Al-Bashir would be “inconsistent with the pursuit of peace” in Sudan. He further states the country’s position that they are not obligated by international law or the Rome Statute [text, PDF] to arrest a “non-state-party” such as Al-Bashir, A South African law grants immunity [text, PDF] to sitting heads of state who visit the country, according Tladi. This grant of immunity contradicts provisions in the Rome Statute, and the ICC must hold South African officials responsible to carry out the councils “most basic function,” according to ICC prosecutor Julian Nicholls [official profile].
There has been significant criticism of the Sudanese government and the conflict in the Darfur region . Since 2003 the region has faced civil unrest from conflict between the government and rebel groups. In February, UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan Aristide Nononsi called for [JURIST report] the Sudanese government to protect civilian rights in Darfur. In January the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and international sanctions Idriss Jazairy praised [JURIST report] former US president Barack Obama’s recent decision to lift all US sanctions on Sudan. In September Amnesty International reported that the Sudanese government used [JURIST report] chemical weapons on civilians in a region of Darfur between January and September 9 2016.