Friday 03 Apr 2020 | 00:22 | SYDNEY
Friday 03 Apr 2020 | 00:22 | SYDNEY

Al-Bashir and his arrest warrant


Fergus Hanson


10 December 2008 11:15

In his briefing to the Security Council the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court told states to prepare themselves 'sooner rather than later' for the Court's decision on whether an arrest warrant should be issue for Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir. A decision is expected next month, which could conveniently coincide with the inauguration of a potentially more supportive US President.

The international response to a decision to issue an arrest warrant will be interesting to watch. The Sudanese Justice Minister has warned of a political 'tsunami' if a warrant is issued. Reported warnings from Sudanese officials have included 'expelling Darfur peacekeepers, aid agencies, withdrawing from UN. Some even have suggested that Darfur may become a safe haven for terrorist groups as a result.'

The Security Council also finds itself in a bit of a mess. Having ordered the Court to investigate the situation — with a request for Al-Bashir's arrest the logical culmination — it is now divided over whether to defer the investigation. An arrest warrant for the Sudanese President could also place states in awkward situations if Al Bashir decides to pop in for a visit: Jordan found the inappropriately named Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs, Ahmed Mohamed Haroun, in its territory when the Prosecutor announced charges against him.

But as the ICC goes after its first head of state, it is difficult to avoid speculation about other potential indictees. It sometimes seems like Mugabe is constantly extending the depths to which he sinks his poor country: but one has to wonder how much longer he can possibly last. When his day finally comes (and presuming it's not brought about by his death) another UN Security Council referral might help deliver a second scalp.