He has been travelling freely around the world despite an eight-year-old international warrant for his arrest on charges of war crimes and genocide. In 2009 and 2010 Bashir was indicted by the Hague-based International Criminal Court on multiple counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Warrants for his arrest were issued on the basis of his “individual criminal responsibility” for those alleged crimes during the conflict that began in Darfur in 2003. However, despite these warrants, in the last decade he has made 150 trips to countries including China, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Kenya, with many of these party to the statute that set up the ICC.
Bashir has made regular trips to countries that are not full members of the ICC, such as Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Qatar, but it is his visits to full members of the Rome statute, such as South Africa, Uganda and Jordan, that raise the most questions. This was highlighted when Jordan was referred to the UN security council by the ICC following its failure to arrest him during a March 2017 trip. Jordan’s response was that he was immune from arrest as a sitting head of state. Jordan said it subscribed to the need to punish those responsible for crimes within the court’s jurisdiction, but not at the “expense of fundamental rules and principles of international law aimed at securing peaceful relations among states”. South Africa was also admonished for similarly failing to arrest him, but the ICC decided not to refer it to the UN.