President Al Bashir’s Dance-Tease With the ICC: Did the ICC Unfairly Get Its Comeuppance for Singling out African Leaders?

Napoleon Bamfo


This paper examines why the ICC indicting President Al Bashir has culminated in a rapid deterioration in relations between African countries and that transnational organization. The paper uses the atrocities the Sudanese government committed in Darfur to examine the disputatious issue of official immunity and whether President Al Bashir, as an incumbent head of state, should enjoy it. Irrespective of the merits and demerits of official immunity being exten+ded to top public officials accused of crime, African leaders have shown a near unanimous disdain for the ICC since the organization began to push for President Bashir’s indictment. This paper examines to extent to which the ICC through its actions is blamable for precipitating the deteriorating relationship between itself and the AU. Alternatively, governments of the AU may not escape blame for capitalizing on the ICC’s awkward move on Bashir to rid themselves of an organization the international community set up to clamp down on human rights abusers throughout the world. There is no disguising that many African leaders feel gleeful for masterfully setting up a firewall that ostensibly blunts the ICC’s ability to use the long reach of the law to bring violators to justice. The ultimate losers of this break down of trust have been Africans who since the dawn of independence have been at the receiving end of governmental brutality and injustice. These are the poor, the working class, the politically unconnected, and people who dare raise their voice against corruption and egregious human rights abuses.



Omar Bashir; ICC; Janjaweed; Zuma; Official immunity; African Union

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