On 3rd March 2009, the ICC issued a warrant of arrest for Omar al Bashir, President of Sudan, on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. This was the first warrant of arrest ever issued for a sitting Head of State by the ICC.
The decision represents an historic and controversial moment for the ICC, which is being accused of jeopardising a fragile peace on the ground in Darfur and elsewhere in Sudan in the name of international justice.
The OTJR Working Paper Series explores the legal, political and humanitarian issues that arise from the Bashir case, asking what these developments mean for the ICC, the wider realm of transitional justice, Sudan and other states affected by mass conflict.
Sun, 13 Jul 2008 by Phil Clark
The ICC is making a hollow threat which challenges the role and credibility of the Court. A version of this paper appeared originally on the SSRC blog, “Making Sense of Darfur”, with responses in the Sudan Tribune, the Financial Times, the Guardian.
Fri, 18 Jul 2008 by Sharath Srinivasan
The ICC’s moves against President Bashir take place in an environment of ‘well-oiled political calculation’ by Khartoum that, depending on how the Court responds, could aid or derail its cause.
Fri, 18 Jul 2008 by Naseem Badiey
The prevailing view on the ground in Southern Sudan is that the ICC is engaged in a form of legal adventurism that jeopardises fragile hopes for peace. Commentary on this essay appears in the September 2008 US Congress report on the ICC in Africa: http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/110372.pdf.
Mon, 21 Jul 2008 by Teddy Harrison
In the light of the application by ICC prosecutor Moreno Ocampo for an arrest warrant for President Bashir serious discussion is necessary about how to ensure that the prosecutor exercises appropriate political agency.
Mon, 28 Jul 2008 by Yvonne Malan
Non-judicial approaches to transitional justice are less effective than is often claimed, and ICC Prosecutor Moreno Ocampo¹s bold move against President Bashir is a timely reminder that prosecutions are important in the struggle against impunity.
Sun, 20 Jan 2013 by Dapo Akande
There are at least three possible ways of arguing that President Bashir is not immune despite the fact that Sudan is not a party to the Statute of the ICC. For commentary on this essay, see The Daily Telegraph, the SSRC blog, 'Making Sense of Darfur', and the September 2008 US Congress report on the ICC in Africa..
Fri, 01 Aug 2008 by Pondai Bamu
On any reasonable reading of international law, a sitting head of state is immune from prosecution and/or arrest in the territory of another state; therefore the ICC Prosecutor is playing politics rather than law. Commentary on this essay appears in the September 2008 US Congress report on the ICC in Africa.
Wed, 20 Aug 2008 by Phil Clark
To understand what the ICC Prosecutor hopes to gain from his pursuit of President Bashir, we need to understand the wider context of the ICC's prosecutorial strategy to date, in particular the cases from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Commentary on this essay appears in Der Spiegel and The Daily Telegraph
Wed, 20 Aug 2008 by Rid Dasgupta
In a potential future ICC trial of al-Bashir, there are certain lessons to be learned from the US military commissions on Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, with regards to protections of defendants and how best judicial impartiality and independence may be preserved.
Wed, 20 Aug 2008 by Lutz Oette
The ICC can set an important example by taking a rule of law approach to justice and thereby assist domestic civil society efforts aimed at fostering a culture of accountability in Sudan.
Wed, 15 Oct 2008 by Stephen Oola
In his disproportionate focus on Africa, Moreno Ocampo has developed a prosecutorial strategy that risks undermining delicate conflict resolution strategies in the region.
Sun, 20 Jan 2013 by Robert Cryer
Contrary to what prominent commentators such as David Scheffer argue (here), it would be lawful for the Security Council to request deferral of the prosecution of Sudanese government officials.
Tue, 17 Mar 2009 by Zachary Manfredi
The stakes are too high for the ICC’s future to risk deferral as delaying Bashir’s indictment would represent a victory for impunity and political power over accountability and judicial independence.
Fri, 20 Mar 2009 by Zachary Manfredi
A schism has opened up between legal and popular uses of 'genocide' that may force activists to develop new tools and strategies to encourage political and humanitarian action in Darfur.
Tue, 24 Mar 2009 by Marc Gustafson
In contrast to what Zachary Manfredi argues, it is unlikely that the ICC's decision to exclude genocide charges will have an impact on the activist campaigns because the relevance of using the word 'genocide' has already come and gone.