01 Feb African Union may ask ICJ for opinion on Bashir’s immunity from ICC
Be careful what you wish for:
The leaders at the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa asked the chairperson of the pan-African body to consider moving the case of Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for an opinion
Today the Xinhua news agency reported that the AU leaders affirmed that the ICC has no legal powers to remove the immunity that international law grants to state officials who are not parties to the Rome Statute.
They asked the AU Commission to consider seeking advice from the ICJ regarding the immunity of state officials under international law.
Dapo Akande has been all over this issue. He thinks that Bashir does not have immunity, but he does not think this is an easy or clear case and depends on the Security Council’s powers more than on general customary international law. I have a hard time imagining the ICJ rulling in favor of the AU here, but it would not be a simple or slam-dunk opinion against immunity either.