Bashir in South Africa: Defeat, Victory or Both for International Criminal Justice?


Justice in Conflict

JiC is thrilled to welcome Kurt Mills for this guest-post on the implications of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s visit to South Africa. Kurt is a Senior Lecturer in International Human Rights at the University of Glasgow and the author of the forthcoming book International Responses to Mass Atrocities in Africa: Responsibility to Protect, Prosecute and Palliate.

Omar al-Bashir South Africa Omar al-Bashir upon his return to Khartoum from the AU Summit in South Africa (Photo: Reuters)

A remarkable scene played out in South Africa on 14 and 15 June. Over the course of two days, global and regional geopolitics were pitted against international justice norms as a wanted war criminal – President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan – defiantly came to the country to attend an African Union summit and stealthily fled ignominiously in fear of being arrested.

In 2005, the UN Security Council referred the situation in Darfur, where Bashir’s government has been accused…

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