#GlobalJusticeWeekly – ICC suspect Al-Bashir flees South Africa

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir is accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur. © U.S. Navy

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir is accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur. © U.S. Navy

In the wake of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir’s visit to South Africa, government officials, media and academics weighed in on what the episode means for the future of the ICC.

Civil society roundly condemned South Africa for failing to arrest Al-Bashir, while welcoming a court decision ordering him to remain in the country.

The New York Times Editorial Board criticized South Africa’s decision to let Al-Bashir go as disgraceful. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that ICC member states must arrest Al-Bashir, but Archbishop Desmond Tutu said that the refusal of the world’s most powerful nations to comply with the ICC created the conditions for South Africa to decline to do so. Meanwhile, Darfuri refugees said that they were reassured by the court order for Al-Bashir’s arrest.

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Central African Republic
A new report detailed a ‘shadow economy’ used to bankroll insurgent groups in the CAR.

Kenya
The African Union wants to be enjoined as an interested party to the ICC case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and broadcaster Joshua Sang and called for the case to be terminated. At the AU summit, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said that the ICC’s treatment of Africans should inspire the continent to strengthen the African court. Kenyatta also said that the ICC should end its case against Ruto.

The Kenyan government earmarked Ksh 1.2 billion for relocating those displaced by the 2007-08 post-election violence.

Democratic Republic of Congo
The ICC Presidency decided that the opening of the Bosco Ntaganda trial, set to begin on 7 July, will be held in The Hague.

Libya
Human Rights Watch accused the Libyan government of arbitrary detentions and torture and reminded the authorities of the ICC’s jurisdiction.

Mali
New York Times columnists called for the disarming of militia groups in Mali.

Uganda
An International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) paper called on Uganda to adopt a transitional justice policy. The ICC’s outreach unit launched a new radio show in northern Uganda ahead of the Dominic Ongwen confirmation of charges hearing.

Côte d’Ivoire
ICTJ worked with victims of electoral violence to make proposals for reparations. Ivoire Justiceinterviewed Simone Gbagbo’s defense counsel on her possible transfer to the ICC (in French).

Preliminary Examinations
Nicaragua may have given citizenship to the FARC’s leadership to help shield the group from international justice, Colombia Reports reported. Colombia said that it killed the commander of the ELN in an airstrike.

Georgia condemned Russian military drills in the breakway territory of South Ossetia.

Nigeria’s president will task the attorney general with investigating allegations against the military contained in an Amnesty International report. #BringBackOurGirls campaigners are pressing the president to end the Boko Haram insurgency and rescue girls kidnapped by the group. Chad launchedairstrikes against Boko Haram positions in Nigeria.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights condemned the Israeli Military Advocate General for closing three war crimes claims related to the Gaza conflict last summer. The families of children killed on a Gaza beach during the conflict are disappointed with the dismissal of their claim and expressed hope that the ICC will take up the case. Israel issued a report defending its military’s conduct in the Gaza conflict. Academic Valentina Azarov discussed how a potential ICC investigation into the situation in Palestine could impact Israel’s relations with other states, particular in Europe. A Spanish court shelved an investigation into the 2010 Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound humanitarian ship and recommended that the government refer it to the ICC.

Ukraine prosecutors detained two soldiers linked to the murder of two women with possible links to separatists.

What else is happening?
ICTJ argued that children affected by conflict are in need of specialized support.

No Peace Without Justice criticized Bangladesh’s war crimes trials as unfair.

A UN panel urged greater accountability for peacekeepers.

The AU rejected the principle of ‘no immunity’ for heads of state. In a prepared speech that was not delivered at the AU summit, the president of Namibia called on African states to leave the ICC. Columnist Gwynne Dyer argued that the ICC is beneficial for Africa.

A Slate columnist argued that the ICC is weak because the United States wanted it to be. Mark Kersten argued that it’s still too early to tell what will define Fatou Bensouda’s tenure as ICC prosecutor.

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