The African Union wrapped up its summit in South Africa this week. Among the attendees was Omar al Bashir, the president of Sudan. This was somewhat surprising because Bashir is wanted on charges of war crimes and genocide by the International Criminal Court. And South Africa, as a member of the ICC, is treaty bound to arrest fugitives like Bashir.
But South African authorities did not arrest him. So a local human rights group pressed their case in a South African court, which issued an injunction ordering Bashir to stay put pending the resolution of the case.
That’s when things got weird. With the complicity of the South African government Bashir was allowed to escape the country. He’s now back in Sudan.
On the line with me to discuss what exactly happened and what the consequences might be for the ICC and its relationship with African governments is Mark Kersten. He’s the creator of the excellent Justice in Conflict blog and a researcher focusing on the ICC.