The International Criminal Court (ICC) today requested Malawi to explain its alleged failure to arrest and surrender to the court Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir who is wanted on charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.
The request follows media reports indicating that Mr. Bashir visited Malawi last Friday, according to a press release issued by the ICC.
The court said a diplomatic note sent its registrar sent to the Malawian embassy in Brussels reminding the country of its legal obligations as a State Party to the Rome Statute, the treaty the established the ICC, and asking for cooperation was not answered. Malawi has until 11 November to submit its observations to the ICC.
The ICC last year issued a second arrest warrant for Mr. Bashir, adding genocide to the list of charges for crimes he has allegedly committed in Sudan’s war-ravaged Darfur region. He had the previous year become the first sitting head of State to be indicted by the Court. States are obliged to arrest him and hand him over to the ICC in the event that he enters their territory.
Under the Rome Statute, States that fail to comply with a request to cooperate with the Court may be referred to the Assembly of States Parties or to the Security Council if the Council had referred the matter to the ICC.
In August last year and May this year, the ICC pre-trial chamber issued three decisions informing the Security Council and the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute about Mr. Bashir’s visits to Kenya, Chad and Djibouti “in order for them to take any measure they may deem appropriate.”
In October and December last year, the judges also issued two decisions requesting Kenya and the Central African Republic (CAR) to inform ICC about any problem which would impede or prevent the arrest and surrender of Mr. Bashir in the event that he visited those countries.