The judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an order this week asking the Saudi Arabian authorities to execute arrest warrants for Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir who is currently performing pilgrimage in Mecca.
- The order was in response to an urgent request from the ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Wednesday seeking cooperation of Riyadh in apprehending Bashir.
Saudi Arabia is not a state party to the ICC’s founding charter thus has no obligation to cooperate with the court, the judges noted.
“Accordingly, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as a non-State Party to the Statute, has no obligations vis-à-vis the Court arising from the Statute. In this regard, the Chamber recalls that the situation in Darfur, Sudan was referred to the Court by way of SC Resolution 1593 (2005), which also recognizes that States not parties to the Statute (apart from Sudan) have no obligation under the Statute,” the order reads.
“However, SC Resolution 1593(2005) still “urge[d] all States and concerned regional and other international organizations to cooperate fully” with the Court (emphasis added).14 Thus, having been provided already with the two warrants of arrest against Mr. Al Bashir and the corresponding request for arrest and surrender,15 the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia may decide to execute the outstanding warrants of arrest”.
The ICC issued two arrest warrants against Bashir in 2009 and 2010 for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed in Darfur.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has referred the Darfur case to the ICC under a Chapter VII resolution in 2005 since Sudan is not a state party to the court.
Bashir is the first sitting head of state charged by the Hague based court since its inception in 2002.