SA to know fate over failure to arrest Omar al-Bashir on Thursday

South Africa appeared before the ICC in April to argue that the Pre-Trial Chamber shouldn't make a finding of non-compliance against the country for not arresting al-Bashir when he attended the AU Summit in Johannesburg in 2015.

FILE: Omar Hassan al-Bashir. AFP

PRETORIA - The International Criminal Court (ICC) will on Thursday hand down its judgment in the matter of South Africa’s failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Al-Bashir was in the country in June 2015 to attend the African Union Summit in Johannesburg.

The Supreme Court has confirmed the High Court’s finding that government was obliged to arrest him on a warrant issued by the ICC for crimes against humanity.

The incident prompted South Africa to withdraw from the Rome Statute - a move stopped by the High Court because it was found to be unconstitutional.

South Africa appeared in the International Criminal Court’s Pre-Trial Chamber in April where it argued that the court should not make a finding of non-compliance for its failure to arrest al-Bashir.

The Southern Africa Litigation Centre, which initiated the legal action when al-Bashir visited the country, told the ICC that the government had clear domestic and international legal obligations to arrest the president.

The court will determine whether South Africa failed to comply with obligations under the Rome Statute.

It will also rule whether a finding of noncompliance should be referred to the assembly of state parties to the Rome Statute or the United Nations Security Council.