ICC: SA violated ICC agreement when it failed to arrest Al-Bashir

South Africa appeared in the International Criminal Court in April where it defended its decision not to arrest Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir in June 2015.

FILE: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir attending the opening session of the African Union Summit in Abuja in July 2013. Picture: AFP.

PRETORIA - The International Criminal Court (ICC) has ruled that South Africa violated its agreement with the court by not arresting Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir for crimes against humanity.

The court on Thursday delivered its judgment on South Africa's failure to arrest Al Bashir when he was in the country in June 2015 to attend the African Union summit in Johannesburg.

It ruled that Al Bashir, who is wanted by the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity, was not protected from arrest by diplomatic immunity.

ICC Judge Cuno Tarfusser handed down the judgment.

“The Chamber concludes that by not arresting Omar Al Bashir while he was on its territory between 13 and 15 June 2015, South Africa failed to comply with the court’s request for the arrest and surrender of Al Bashir contrary to the provisions of the statute.”

Judge Tarfusser says there must now be a judicial remedy.

“In these circumstances, the possible remedies can be of a judicial nature only and the matter must ultimately be settled judicially by a court.”

South Africa appeared in the ICC in April where it defended its decision not 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 him.

WATCH: Judge Cuno Tarfusser reads the ICC judgment