Court criticizes missed arrest
JOHANNESBURG — The International Criminal Court said Thursday that South Africa should have arrested Sudanese President Omar alBashir, wanted by the court on war-crimes charges, when he visited the country in 2015.
However, in a show of leniency, the court at The Hague, Netherlands, said it would not refer South Africa’s failure to comply with its obligations to the court’s governing body or the United Nations Security Council. It based that decision partly on South Africa’s effort to cooperate by seeking a ruling in the case.
South Africa and other signatory countries have a legal obligation to arrest anyone sought by the international court under the Rome Statute, the court’s founding treaty. Lawyers for South Africa had argued that the treaty does not obligate authorities to arrest heads of state of countries who are not members of the court, such as Sudan.