Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir (C) walks during the swearing in ceremony of Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni as newly elected President in Kampala on May 12, 2016.
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High Court declines to issue order for arrest of Sudanese President, adjourns till December

16 November 2017 - 23:11

On Wednesday 15 November, Justice Moses Mukiibi, the head of the International Crimes Division of Uganda's High Court, heard an application by the Uganda Victims' Foundation (UVF) to seek the arrest of Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan during his recent visit to Uganda. UVF is a coalition of human rights and civil society NGOs in Uganda working with victims and on victims' rights issues and sought its application against the Attorney General and the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs who were represented by two lawyers from the Attorney General’s Chambers.

al-Bashir has a warrant for his arrest on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Sudan’s Darfur region between 2003 and 2008

Thanks to our correspondent at the High Court who provided these updates:

In its application, UVF requested that a warrant of arrest be issued for President al-Bashir during his current visit to Uganda, as well as a "standing" arrest warrant for "whenever he sets foot in the territory [of Uganda]". They also requested that the court declare that Uganda has breached its international obligations if it fails to take steps to arrest al-Bashir.

The Attorney General’s representatives requested for adjournment of the hearing to allow them adequate time to respond to the issues raised in the application. The justification provided for this was that they need to consult extensively given that the application raises both legal and political issues.

Some of the questions posed to the parties by the judge:

  • Is there a current ICC request for the arrest of Omar Al Bashir which the GoU has failed to execute?
  • What happens to an ICC request which a Government fails to honor? Does it remain operational or expire?
  • Should a domestic court still be required to address this matter and yet it has in the past been dealt with by the ICC Pre-trial Chamber and a referral made to the UNSC?
  • Does the law give the ICD the power to issue a provisional arrest warrant for Omar Al Bashir?

 

The judge granted the adjournment request and the application will be up for mention on 11th December 2017. Parties will be expected to address the issue concerning the domestic court’s jurisdiction to hear this matter.

 

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