Jordan’s Government Was Expected to Arrest Sudan’s Omar Al-Bashir, ICC Says

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The International Criminal Court (ICC) made a Monday ruling (May 6), which cited the Jordanian government’s failure to arrest Omar Al-Bashir (pictured) during the deposed Sudanese president’s visit to that nation in 2017.

According to Human Rights Watch, the Appeals Chamber of the ICC declared that no active leader of a non-affiliated ICC nation is immune to arrest if they have been charged by the court for serious crimes. In 2009, the ICC indicted Al-Bashir for a whole host of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in massacres committed in Sudan’s Darfur region.

After a split ruling by a five-judge panel, the ICC ultimately determined that Jordan had a legal obligation to arrest Al-Bashir two years ago. However, Amman’s government is not subject to referral to the UN Security Council. This is due to the Arab nation’s attempt to reach the court for consultation on the Al-Bashir matter ahead of time. Al-Bashir visited Amman, Jordan in March 2017 to attend an Arab League summit.

Additionally, the ICC reversed its previously planned action of referring Jordan to the UN Security Council for failing to arrest Al-Bashir at that time.

“The appeals chamber confirms [that] Jordan had failed to comply with its obligations under the statute by failing to execute the court’s request for the arrest of Mr. Al-Bashir and his surrender to the court, while he was in Amman on March 29, 2017,” said the ICC panel’s presiding judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, according to the Al-Jazeera Media Network.

Judge Eboe-Osuji also determined that referring Jordan to the UN Security Council for possible sanction would be too heavy-handed of a move.

“The Appeals Chamber … finds merit in Jordan’s arguments and considers that the Pre-Trial Chamber abused its discretion,” said the judge.

Al-Bashir’s ICC indictment and subsequent arrest warrants were issued over his former government’s participation in Darfur’s deadly war, which broke out in 2003. In that year, ethnic minorities in the West Sudan region took up arms against Al-Bashir’s government. A counterinsurgency campaign ensued and hundreds of thousands were killed in Darfur alone.

The UN reported that an additional 2.5 million people were displaced during Al-Bashir’s alleged Darfur campaign of pillage, mass rape, and mass murder.