Judges censure DRC over failure to arrest Al-Bashir

 

Sudanese President and ICC suspect Omar Al-Bashir. © capitaleritrea

Sudanese President and ICC suspect Omar Al-Bashir. © capitaleritrea

ICC judges have referred the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to UN Security Council and Assembly of States Parties (ASP) for its failure to arrest and surrender Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir during a visit in February.

In a decision last week, ICC Pre-Trial Chamber IIfound that DRC authorities had failed to cooperate with the Court by deliberately refusing to arrest and surrender Al-Bashir while attending a Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) summit in Kinshasa on 26/27 February.

 

Two ICC arrest warrants were issued for Al-Bashir in 2009 and 2010 for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups in Darfur, Sudan.

All ICC member states are obliged to cooperate with the Court in arresting and surrendering suspects.

 

On 26 February, as the summit was ongoing, the judges had directly requested the DRC to immediately arrest Al-Bashir.

The judges also found that DRC authorities failed to communicate with the Court any problems that might have impeded the execution of its arrest and surrender request.

They have asked the UN Security Council and ASP to consider further action.

“It is unacceptable that the DRC allows Omar Al-Bashir to visit its territory. The millions of victims of the conflict in Darfur, as well as the more than 5 million victims in the DRC who have suffered similar atrocities, deserve justice and accountability,” said Coalition Convenor William Pace at the time of the visit.

Have your say – What next steps do you think the UN Security Council and ASP should take?

Read more: Al-Bashir five years on the run.

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