PROSECUTING PRESIDENT AL BASHIR, AND THE SHORT ARM OF JUSTICE

Suzanne Bullock

Abstract


Prosecutor v Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir

In this decision the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) condemned Malawi, as a member state of the ICC, for the failure to comply with the request to arrest and surrender the President of Sudan, Omar Al Bashir. Significantly, the Chamber determined that the traditionally sacrosanct concept of immunity of Heads of State no longer applied before an international court or tribunal. Whilst the intention to create universal jurisdiction over perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity is extremely laudable, the legal reasoning by the Chamber is regrettably unsound. If the decision remains unchallenged, the implication is that no Head of State, whether or not they are a signatory to the ICC, is immune from prosecution on the mere basis of the ICC’s status as an international court.


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