Sudan, South Africa and the future of the International Criminal Court in Africa

Justice in Conflict

South African President Jacob Zuma with his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir (Photo: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah / Reuters) South African President Jacob Zuma with his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir (Photo: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah / Reuters)

Many believe Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir is the person most responsible for the alleged genocide in Darfur. As such, he isn’t supposed to travel freely around the world. But this past June, Bashir visited South Africa for an African Union summit. His trip flew in the face of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has issued orders for his arrest on charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. South African officials now openly talk about leaving the ICC over a perception that it is biased against Africa. What will the political fall-out of Bashir’s visit mean for South Africa, its role in international relations and its relationship with the ICC?

The South African government’s response to Bashir’s visit carried significant reputational costs, and sparked a domestic political crisis. The country…

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