THE HAGUE, Dec 8, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 08th Dec, 2016 ) - The International Criminal Court will hold a public hearing next April to probe whether South Africa failed its duty in refusing to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, the court said Thursday. The announcement follows a dispute last year when Bashir attended an African Union summit in Johannesburg despite facing an ICC arrest warrant over alleged war crimes and genocide. The Hague-based court's Pre-Trial Chamber is "convening a public hearing on April 7, 2017, for the purposes of a determination.
.. on the compliance by South Africa with the Court's request" to arrest and surrender Bashir, it said in a statement. Judges invited submissions by the court's chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, South Africa and the United Nations on the issue, it added. Pretoria refused to arrest Bashir when he attended the continent-wide summit in mid-2015, claiming that he had immunity as the head of an AU member state. South Africa is a signatory to the Rome Statute of the world war crimes court which wants Bashir arrested for alleged crimes related to the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan.
South Africa's own Supreme Court of Appeal has accused President Jacob Zuma's government of "disgraceful conduct" over Bashir's visit and ruled that the failure to arrest the Sudanese leader was unlawful. The row with the ICC saw Pretoria in October announce its withdrawal from the court, a major blow to the institution set up to try the world's worst crimes.