Sudan-ICC: Bashir faces ICC arrest in South Africa as he attends AU summit

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir attends an Extraordinary Summit of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Heads of State during the African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 31, 2014. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri (ETHIOPIA - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX181Z3A court in South Africa on Sunday banned Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir from leaving South Africa before he answers some questions as he is attending the Africa Union Summit in Johannesburg.

Southern African Litigation Centre, a legal rights’ group has launch a hearing request against Omar al-Bashir who is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court that has launched an international arrest warrant against him since 2009.

Omar al-Bashir has since then mostly travelled to countries not signatories of the ICC charter. South Africa is state-member of the ICC.

Human rights groups say that South Africa has the obligation to arrest the Sudanese president as it is signatory to ICC and has to prove to the world it is mindful about human rights.

“As a signatory of the ICC, South Africa has an obligation to arrest him,” Johannesburg-based rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba told AFP.

“Failure to do so puts them in the same bracket as other African regimes which have no respect for human rights. It’s actually a test for South Africa.”

Elise Keppler of Human Rights Watch says that failure to arrest Omar al-Bashir will tarnish South Africa’s reputation for promotion of justice.

“Allowing President al-Bashir into South Africa without arresting him would be a major stain on South Africa’s reputation for promoting justice for grave crimes,” she said.

“South Africa’s legal obligations as an ICC member mean cooperating in al-Bashir’s arrest, not in his travel plans,” she added.

While human rights groups are pressing for Bashir’s arrest, the Sudanese government is showing confidence and assuring that Sudanese president will attend the conference and return to home freely.

“It is difficult to give details of President Bashir’s timetable, but he will return home when the main session is over. This could be today or tomorrow. I will not go into the details,” Sudan’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Ismail said at a press conference.

“Until now, things are normal and there is no risk to the president,” Ismail said. The South African government has not made any statement.

Many African heads of state have publicly denounced the ICC that they deem a court made for Africans and have invited fellow heads of state to boycott the court by pulling out.

Geraldine Boechat Posted by on June 15, 2015. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

2 Responses to Sudan-ICC: Bashir faces ICC arrest in South Africa as he attends AU summit

  1. Patrick

    Well, now Al Bashir is safely resting home back in Sudan.

    Most likely, South Africa let Al Bashir go not to be isolated from other African countries. However, ICC, if it wants to regain validity, should act by suspending or expulsing South Africa. Not only that but South Africa actions should be discussed and sanctioned at the Security Council.

    It should be remembered that the same scenario almost happened when Al Bashir visited Kenya. Kenya spearheaded the movement for AU members to exit from ICC. I guarantee that Kenya will use President Barack’s visit in July to their country to legitimize their skewed sense of justice on the world scene.

    Definitely ICC has many,many, many shortcomings but it is for now the only avenue for the less fortunates to seek justice for crimes against humanity.

    Personally ,it is a disgrace and appalling that the AU think more about safeguarding some of their members without a thought of the massacres which they committed. Indeed, they collectively have cheapen the worth of human lives.

  2. Patrick

    Well, Al Bashir is now safely resting back home in Sudan.

    Most likely, South Africa let Al Bashir go not to be isolated from other African countries. However, ICC, if it wants to regain validity, should act by suspending or expulsing South Africa. Not only that but South Africa actions should be discussed and sanctioned at the Security Council.

    It should be remembered that the same scenario almost happened when Al Bashir visited Kenya. Kenya spearheaded the movement for AU members to exit from ICC. I guarantee that Kenya will use President Barack’s visit in July to their country to legitimize their skewed sense of justice on the world scene.

    Definitely ICC has many,many, many shortcomings but it is for now the only avenue for the less fortunates to seek justice for crimes against humanity.

    Personally ,it is a disgrace and appalling that the AU think more about safeguarding some of their members without a thought of the massacres which they committed. Indeed, they collectively have cheapen the worth of human lives.

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