Sunday, July 5, 2009
On Friday, African leaders at the 13th annual African Union (AU) Summit in Libya agreed by consensus that AU members shall not cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague in the arrest and transfer of the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, to the ICC. Omar al-Bashir has been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity by the ICC prosecutors, who also want to try him for genocide. About two-thirds of the members of the AU are parties to the Statute of the ICC, which obligates them to cooperate with the Court and to arrest and extradite Bashir to the Hague if found in their country. This decision will create conflicting international obligations for these States.
The ICC has launched investigations into four cases since its inception - all of them in Africa. Some Africans, including Rwanda's Prime Minister Makuza, were quoted as stating that the decision is a signal to the West that it shouldn't impose its solutions on Africa. Other African leaders have suggested that the indictment of Bashir jeopardized the peace process in Sudan.