Al-Bashir And ICC’s Global Bureaucratic Inconsistency | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Al-Bashir And ICC’s Global Bureaucratic Inconsistency

Posted: Jun 18, 2015 at 12:44 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Magnus Ugwubujor –  Lagos


Both international and local media went viral earlier this week with the news of the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir who reportedly avoided being arrested in South Africa where he was attending an African Union (AU) summit on the order of the International criminal Court (ICC). The embattled Sudanese President has been under the ICC’s trail on allegation of crime against humanity and genocide during the Darfur conflict. The conflict began in 2003 when black African rebels in Darfur took up arms, accusing the government of neglect. The number of people who lost their lives in the war was put at about 300,000 by the united Nation (UN).

man-in-the-newsMeanwhile, there have been a lot of arguments going back and forth geared toward the legitimacy of the ICC’s order to arrest and prosecute a sitting President who still enjoys immunity of his office. Recall that the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta not quite long ago was also invited by ICC on allegation of crime against humanity. But the ICC has argued that the immunity of all persons it decides to indict is suspended at the instance of exercising its statutory duties on officials of state parties and non-parties within the jurisdiction of the binding nature of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) decisions.

Nevertheless, as al-Bashir faces genocide charges with the ICC, the question most analysts are asking borders not on whether he did commit those crimes but the fact that ICC’s modus operandi suggests it is a neocolonialism tool – an imperialist organ. As it were, keen followers of the operations of ICC have observed that the global court has a penchant for going after mostly African leaders. They are also quick to note that ICC apparently uses its mandate to bring down those who are wittingly or unwittingly against the West.

In fact, the seeming selective nature of the ICC operations with its searchlight so much beamed on African leaders could best be described as ‘global bureaucratic inconsistency.’ Some commentators are of the view that South Africa’s decision not to restrict al Bashir’s movement out of the country on the order of arrest from ICC is an indication that the Southern African country is in compliance with AU’s October 2013extra ordinary summit where it decided to limit the ICC’s mandate to hear cases on any sitting head of state and senior officials of government across Africa. To this end, they expanded the powers of a unified African court and called on individual countries to withdraw from the Rome Statute, which established the ICC.

Therefore had Jacob Suma complied with the ICC’s order to arrest al-Bashir, it would have strained South Africa’s relationship with the AU member states, considering that the country’s xenophobic attacks on fellow Africans in 2008 and 2015 is still a dent on the country. Besides, it would have meant a total violation of AU’s non-cooperation decision with the ICC on any cases related to the Kenyan and Sudanese presidents.

The truth is that the issues around the Sudanese President and the ICC seem convoluted. However, analysts are of the view that ICC may not have a smooth ride this time around in its prosecution of al- Bashir. But how this issue plays out would be known in the coming days.