On 9 March 2015, the International Criminal Court (ICC) made a finding that Sudan had violated an international obligation by failing to cooperate with the ICC in the arrest and surrender of President Omar Al Bashir.
The ICC’s founding instrument is the Rome Statute and under this treaty, all member States are under an obligation to cooperate with the Court in fulfilling its mandate of, amongst others, fighting impunity.
Although the obligation to cooperate with the ICC under the Rome Statute is generally limited to countries that have signed the Statute and Sudan is not one of those, their government nevertheless has some obligations towards the ICC.
In 2005, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1593 which deemed the situation in Darfur, Sudan, as a threat to international peace and security. Accordingly, one of the powers of the UN Security Council under the United Nations is to take judicial, political, military or economic decisions they deem fit to minimise this threat to international peace and security.
As a judicial means, the situation in Sudan was referred to the ICC. Although Sudan would normally not be under any obligation to cooperate with the ICC because it did not sign the Rome Statute, Sudan now has to cooperate with the Court because the decision to refer it to the ICC was made by the UN, of which Sudan is a member State.
The Pre-Trial Chamber II of the ICC was tasked with adjudicating the situation in Sudan since its referral. This Chamber found that on a consistent basis for six years, Sudan has failed to cooperate with the Court by refusing to engage with organs of the Court and failing to execute the requests for the arrest and surrender of its President Omar Al Bashir.
The first arrest warrant for Omar Al Bashir was issued on 4 March 2009 and the second was issued on 12 July 2010. Al Bashir is wanted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.