June 2018– On 18 June 2018, a group of experts including members of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice (CPIJ) submitted Amici Curiae observations to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on complicated and controversial questions arising in the Al Bashir case. This decision of the ICC will be particularly important since it pertains to the power of the UN Security Council to set aside immunities of a head of State in the pursuit of justice, a question which is has been debated for years.
President Omar Al Bashir of Sudan is accused of genocide and other crimes committed in Darfur. The United Nations Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC in 2005, stating that “the Government of Sudan and all other parties to the conflict in Darfur, shall cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor” (S/RES/1593 (2005)). However, some States, including the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, failed to arrest Omar Al Bashir. Consequently, on 11 December 2017, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II rendered a decision on the non-compliance by Jordan with the request by the Court, where it ruled that the immunities of Omar Al Bashir as Head of State cannot be invoked to justify a failure to comply to the Court’s request of his arrest. Jordan appealed of this decision.
A group of experts including CPIJ members submitted a request for leaveon 26 April 2018, which was accepted by the ICC on 21 May. The Amici therefore submitted their observations four weeks later, stating that the ICC Appeals Chamber should uphold the interpretation adopted by the Pre-Trial Chamber, and that Al Bashir has no immunity before the ICC. The group also suggested legal avenues to respect competing legitimate concerns. The Amici Curiae, signed by Darryl Robinson, Fannie Lafontaine, Valerie Oosterveld, Margaret M. deGuzman, Robert Cryer and Carsten Stahn, can be accessed here.