President of Sudan Omar al-Bashir is currently visiting the country of Saudi Arabia for a Hajj to Mecca. The International Criminal Court has issued a statement asking the Saudi authorities to arrest President Bashir for crimes against humanity and genocide so that he may be sent to The Hague to answer for the atrocities he has committed.
Saudi Arabia is not a member of the ICC and therefore isn’t under any obligation to arrest President Bashir, however in their statement the ICC reminded Saudi of their responsibilities as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, which urges all members to corporate fully with the ICC. “Given that the Statute is an international treaty governed by the rules set out under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, it is only with the State’s consent that the Statute can impose obligations on a non-State Party” said the statement.
Unfortunately it is very unlikely that Saudi Arabia will arrest President Bashir as it would cause a rift between the two countries which would have devastating implications for both economies.
The Sudanese government refused to issue a statement concerning the issue, saying only that Sudan has nothing to do with the Court. The International Criminal Court has issued two arrest warrants for President Bashir, in 2009 and 2010 for crimes against humanity and for genocide in Darfur. Bashir is the first sitting president in the history of the ICC to be charged.
Here at Darfur Women Action Group we believe that President Bashir should not get away with what he has done to the people of Darfur who are forced to live with too little to eat, in constant fear for their safety and never knowing what terrors the future might bring. The UN needs to raise up and ask Saudi Arabia to do the right thing. Everyone and anyone can petition the UN or members of the US government asking them to hold Bashir accountable for his actions.
We further call on the Saudi Arabia as an important regional player; they have a moral obligation to stand for justice for the victims of genocide in Darfur. It’s particularly important that the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stands for justice instead of promoting impunity for the world worse crimes committed against the people of Darfur.
We demand that the UNSC hold both the perpetrators of the crimes and the accomplices, who provide a safe haven to criminals like Basher, accountable.