Where can President Bashir go?

The 2009 International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant for the president can be applied in any United Nations member state as the case was referred to the court by the UN Security Council.

So in theory he should not be able to travel anywhere, but in practice he has to make a calculation about the probability of being arrested - and that is more likely in a country like South Africa which, as one of the 123 states signed up to the ICC, is obliged to carry out its decisions.

President Bashir has visited other countries including China, Iran, Ethiopia and Nigeria. But in Nigeria in 2013, in parallels with the South African case, he had to leave earlier than scheduled after a rights group went to court to compel the authorities to arrest him.

In 2012 an African Union summit was moved from Malawi after it blocked the attendance of President Bashir.

So will he ever be arrested?

Being forced to leave the African Union summit early is embarrassing for Mr Bashir but "it is also a severe set-back for the ICC", argues international law expert Marc Weller, as South Africa has been seen as an important backer of the court.

South Africa did ask the ICC last week if it was exempt as the African Union decided in 2013 that no sitting head of state should appear before an international court. South Africa argued that Mr Bashir was visiting under an AU invitation.

But that request was rejected by the court saying that South Africa was under an "obligation to immediately arrest and surrender" the president as soon as he touched down in the country.

Nevertheless, he was not arrested and the actions of South Africa, a country which has a reputation for having a high regard for the rule of law, could embolden other countries to follow its example.

Are sitting heads of state immune from prosecution?

In principle a sitting head of state has full immunity from prosecution, but this can be overridden by the UN Security Council or the ICC, Mr Weller says.

The ICC was set up, according to a statement on its website, to "help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes" including genocide. So it is "the very essence of the ICC that it has the authority to arrest heads of state providing it has the jurisdiction", Mr Weller adds.

But without its own police force, the ICC needs to rely on the cooperation of countries to carry out its wishes.

Most African governments will remain reluctant to arrest Mr Bashir - they accuse the ICC of bias and only targeting Africans - but human rights groups, and now the courts, on the continent are certainly increasing the pressure on him.

Coalition for the International Criminal Court


The ICB wishes to inform you of the Official Announcement of the Master on International Criminal Justice created with the Rovira i Virgili University

4Th International Meeting Of Defence Offices

25 & 26 November 2016 London, United Kingdom



Defence Office of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Dear Madam, Sir,

The Defence Office of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon thank you again for your participation in the Fourth International Meetings of Defence Offices which were held in London, on 25th and 26th of November 2016.

Please find attached the Summary report of the Meetings in French, English and Arabic. 

You will also find attached the questionnaire on Defence Investigations, which we thank you for completing in the language of your choice, and sending back to us, if you have not already done so. As Johann said during the Meetings,your answers will be very useful in that they will illustrate the Guide to Investigations with concrete examples from you experience.

Thank you again for your participation and we hope to see you again in Nuremberg for the Fifth Meetings in 2017.

Kind regards,