Institute For Security Studies Condemns S/Africa Over Al-Bashir

South Africa's President Zuma talks to his Sudanese counterpart al-Bashir during 50th anniversary of establishment of OAU in capital Addis Ababa

By Samuel Malik

A South African non-governmental organisation, Institute for Security Studies, ISS, has described the role played by the country’s government in the al-Bashir saga as “sad for South Africa and a blow to the rule of law”.

Omar al-Bashir, Sudan President had been prevented from leaving the country by a Pretoria High Court pending a hearing into case file by Southern African Litigation Centre, a civil society organisation seeking to compel South Africa to comply with the International Criminal Court’s request for the Sudanese president to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

However, with the matter scheduled to be heard on Monday, al-Bashir was reported to have left the country, ostensibly aided by Jacob Zuma’s government.

“Until now, the country has been a champion of international justice and has done more than most in Africa to make sure victims get justice,” Anton du Plessis, ISS managing director, said in a statement released on Monday.

South Africa had claimed, through its ambassador to the Netherlands, Bruce Koloane, that Bashir was under immunity, just like other African leaders that attended the African Union Summit over the weekend, an argument the ICC dismissed.






     

     

    “There exists no ambiguity or uncertainty with respect to the obligation of the Republic of South Africa to immediately arrest and surrender Omar Al Bashir to the Court, and that the competent authorities Republic of South Africa are already aware of this obligation,” Judge Cuno Tarfusser of the ICC clarified.

    Du Plessis agreed with the Court, saying: “The UN Security Council decision in this case bars immunity to Bashir under international law and in relation to his position as head of state. Plus, South Africa’s own ICC implementation law removes immunity for individuals wanted by the ICC.”

    According to ISS, for South Africa, one of the first African countries to ratify ICC’s Rome Statute, this was good opportunity for the country to help bring justice to victims of Bashir’s crimes, something it failed to do.

    “Criminal justice, good governance and the rule of law in the country have been systematically eroded in recent years. We shouldn’t be surprised that this now extends to the international level,” du Plessis stated, referring to recent problems in South Africa.

     

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