South Africa violated its obligations to the International Criminal Court by failing to arrest Sudan’s President Hassan al-Bashir when he visited in 2015, the court’s judges said in a ruling on Thursday.
However, the war crimes court judges declined to refer South Africa to the U.N. Security Council over the matter. They noted that South African courts had already censured the government for its failure in Bashir’s case and said referring it to the UN would likely have little effect.
South Africa’s issue with the ICC
South Africa’s moves of dropping its ICC membership follows its highly controversial failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir during an African Union (AU) summit in Johannesburg in June 2015.
On the eve of al-Bashir’s arrival in South Africa, the ICC issued several calls for his arrest to the South African government. Bashir was allowed to leave after the summit, a court subsequently ruled that the government was wrong to have allowed him to leave despite the ICC warrant of arrest.
It was in light of this event that Jeff Radebe, a minister in the presidency, announced that South Africa was reconsidering its participation in the ICC.