South Africa is set to face the ICC on Friday to defend their reason for not arresting South Sudanese President, Omar Al-Bashir in 2015.
South African lawyers will appear at the Hague-based court, as they await the ruling of the international tribunal on their inability to meet their obligations as a member-state of the ICC.
South Africa’s controversy with the ICC began in 2015 when President Omar Al-Bashir visited South Africa. Bashir who was wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity was attending the African Union summit in South Africa.
The ICC does not have a police force, hence it relies on its member states to make arrests. South Africa, also a member of the ICC had the mandate to arrest the Sudanese President, but did not.
The court criticized the government for not adhering to the order to arrest Bashir. In the same year, Pretoria signaled its desire to leave the Hague-based court due to the reprimand it received from the ICC. This led the country to question the objectiveness of the international tribunal. It accused the ICC of being biased against Africans
At the time, South African lawyers stated that Bashir had “head of state immunity” which prevented them from arresting the Sudanese president.
The ICC judges will also contemplate their next action regarding South Africa, that is, whether to report the African country to the United Nations Security Council for disciplinary actions or not.
South Africa is not the only country party to the ICC that has hosted Al-Bashir despite his ‘wanted’ status. Uganda, Chad, Djibouti and more recently, Jordan have hosted Bashir. The ICC, in turn, referred Chad, Djibouti, and Uganda to the United Nations Security Council. However, the council is yet to take actions against these countries.