South Africa should have arrested Al-Bashir

06 July 2017 1:27 PM

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South Africa should have arrested Al-Bashir

Johannesburg - The International Criminal Court on Thursday found South Africa had failed in its duty to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir when he was in the country.

Judge Cuno Tarfusser said SA had a duty to arrest Al-Bashir in June 2015 and surrender him to the courts.

The ruling comes after the South African government ignored an order by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria preventing Al-Bashir from leaving the country. The Sudanese president had been attending an African Union summit in Johannesburg in June 2015.

According to information provided by the ICC, Al-Bashir, who has been president of the Republic of Sudan since 1993, was issued with his first warrant of arrest on March 4, 2009, and another on July 12, 2010.

He has been charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.

In the wake of the controversy over the Al-Bashir matter, the South African government stated it intent to withdraw from the Rome Statute.

However, in March this year, the government backed down on that idea, following a ruling by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in February which stipulated that a withdrawal would be unconstitutional and invalid - and needed to be decided on by Parliament.

In June, it was reported that the ANC's subcommittee on international relations declared that the party's decision that South Africa should withdraw from the International Criminal Court still stood, although consultations on the matter continued.

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