by Hennie Strydom
At the end of June, Fatou Bensoda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), called on the UN Security Council to ensure compliance with the arrest warrant issued against al-Bashir in 2009.
The court wants to try him for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The chief prosecutor's request came after it was announced that al-Bashir was planning to travel to New York to address a summit on sustainable development at the UN General Assembly.
Two weeks before the chief prosecutor's call for action, al-Bashir escaped arrest in South Africa. He left with the help of the South African government. It ignored a court order preventing him from leaving after he attended the African Union (AU) summit in Johannesburg.
If al-Bashir makes the trip to New York, international attention will focus on how Obama's government responds. The US government is not a signatory to the ICC statute, but as the host country it has the legal authority to arrest al-Bashir if he enters US territory.
He may then be surrendered to the ICC on the basis of the 2009 arrest warrant. Since the US was party to the UN's initial referral of the al-Bashir case to the ICC, the Obama government can hardly turn a blind eye to the latest developments...