Bashir has been indicted by the ICC for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide against some of the tribes of Sudan’s western Darfur region. Two warrants of arrest were issued against him in 2009 and 2010. As a member of the ICC, South Africa is obliged to arrest him and surrender him to the ICC.

The application before the High Court in Pretoria was brought by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre who wanted South Africa to arrest Bashir who was in the country to attend the 25th African Union summit taking place in Johannesburg.