ICC Urges S. Africa to Arrest Sudan Leader

ICC Urges S. Africa to Arrest Sudan LeaderICC Urges S. Africa to Arrest Sudan Leader

The International Criminal Court called on South Africa to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir who is in the country for an African Union summit. Bashir is wanted for war crimes over the conflict in Darfur.

An ICC statement said South Africa should “spare no effort” in detaining him. But instead he was welcomed by South African officials on his arrival in Johannesburg, SABC tweeted.

Sudan’s Suna news agency said he was accompanied by the foreign minister and other top Sudanese officials. There are tensions between ICC and AU, with some on the continent accusing the court of unfairly targeting Africans, BBC reported.

AU has previously urged ICC to stop proceedings against sitting leaders. The warrants against Bashir, who denies the allegations, have severely restricted his overseas travel. He has, however, visited some states in Africa and the Middle East.

ICC has no police force and relies on member states to carry out arrests.

As a signatory to the Rome Statute that established ICC, South Africa is obliged to arrest Bashir if he sets foot in the country, but correspondents say this is unlikely to happen.

AU has previously refused to cooperate with ICC, accusing it of bias against African leaders.

Human rights organizations and South Africa’s main opposition party have also called for Bashir’s arrest.

Darfur has been in conflict since 2003, when rebels took up arms against the government. The UN says more than 300,000 people have died, mostly from disease.

ICC has ended an investigation into war crimes in the region, but the warrants against Bashir remain outstanding. The court accuses him of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.