David beats Goliath in the Bashir case, but does the International Community give a Hoot?
Posted by Mark Kersten
The campaign against Omar al-Bashir racked up an impressive win this week. In the latest development in an ongoing legal tug-of-war, the South African Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that the government of South Africa had acted unlawfully when it refused to detain and surrender Bashir to the International Criminal Court (ICC) during a visit to the country last June. The landmark ruling clarifies the legal obligations that states have towards the ICC and could have significant repercussions beyond South Africa. But will this impressive victory bring Bashir any closer to facing justice for his alleged responsibility for mass atrocities in Darfur?
Just days before the Supreme Court of Appeal’s ruling, Bashir made yet another state visit, this time to Indonesia. Coinciding with the seventh anniversary of the first arrest warrant issued by the ICC for the Sudanese president, Bashir’s trip to Jakarta also marked his seventy-fifth foreign foray since he was indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Bashir’s gallivanting undermines one of the key arguments in favour of international criminal justice: that ICC arrest warrants marginalise their targets. But what is particularly irritating for proponents of the ICC is the international community’s deafening indifference to Bashir’s increasingly brazen travels in contravention of the ICC’s warrants.
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