The IBA stance against SA letting Al Bashir escape.

2015-06-22 14:41

The call by the Executive Director of the International Bar Association (IBA) as well as eminent international law expert, Mark Ellis in relation to the events surrounding Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir, South Africa, the African Union and the International Criminal Court (ICC) deserves  a fuller and informed discussion.

He said that

‘The recent refusal (by) South Africa, a State Party to the ICC's Rome Statue, to arrest and transfer Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir to The Hague, (was) a devastating blow to the Court. If the ICC is to survive, there needs to be a reaffirmation by the international community to assist the Court in enforcing its decision and arrest warrants. The African Union needs to drop its political posturing in favour of holding to account those most responsible for committing atrocities.'

What is tantamount to a slap in the face for the U.S. ,Russia, and China  especially, bearing in mind the U.S. which commented on this ,he went on to say that

'the major political powers, including the United States, Russia, China, and Israel need to ultimately join the Court if international justice is to work.'

He got it woefully wrong.

Neither SA nor the AU was  engaging in political posture but, what I see as an act of protest against the asymmetry that the ICC engages in when it comes to the reluctance in prosecuting Europeans or leaders linked to the U.S. led coalition who committed what is seen as crimes against humanity and, one or two who lied to their parliaments to obtain ratification for their actions.

Mark Ellis wasn't vociferous enough or at all when these crimes were being committed.

A classical example was the refusal by Mrs Fatou  Ben Souda the ICC prosecutor to entertain a complaint against four Israeli generals who were implicated in a complaint by 191 complainants in the famous Mave Marmara flotilla case in which 9 people died after Israeli troops boarded the ship that was trying to penetrate the inhumane  blockade of Gaza by Israel. Her alleged excuse was that the complaint was not 'intensive enough' to warrant an investigation!

This, and the fact that the ICC seems to be targeting Africa, was the cause opprobrium why SA at the behest of the AU acted as it did, legally unacceptable but politically and morally understandable.

When the ICC acts even handedly and with full vigour as expected in the case of the Turkish complaint, which the IBA needs to seriously take issue with the ICC, then it can take a stance against  SA or the AU.

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