South African court rules failed to detain Omar Al-Bashir
The government in Pretoria allowed Sudanese president in 2015 claiming he was immune to prosecution. While the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein has ruled it was unlawful for the government to allow Omar Al-Bashir to leave the country. South African government was under obligation to co-operate with the International Criminal Court in arresting Al-Bashir.
Thus the South African appeal court has accused the government of “disgraceful conduct” for allowing Omar Al-Bashir to leave the country despite an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC). When the Sudanese president entered the country last year June for an African Union summit, the SA Litigation Center approached the High Court for an order that the government enforce the ICC’s arrest warrant.
Bashir was not arrested as the South African government claimed he had immunity as the head of a member state. On 15 June the High Court in Pretoria ordered the government to arrest Al-Bashir, but government lawyers admitted he had flown out of the country just a few hours earlier.
The government eventually filed a plea against the arrest order at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA). The SCA ruled that the failure to arrest Bashir was unlawful and dismissed the government’s appeal.
The South African Litigation Center (SALC) welcomed the court ruling, saying it meant Bashir must be arrested if he returned to South Africa.
The Supreme Court added when South Africa receives invitations to host future gatherings of AU heads of state, government would have to bear the judgment of the High Court in mind. The ICC had two outstanding warrants for Bashir, issued in 2009 and 2010.
It wants him to stand trial n the allegations of crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes committed in Sudan’s western province of Darfur.
“The government should seek to uphold the law instead of shielding suspected war criminals,” SALC director Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh said.
The decision by South Africa not to arrest Bashir sparked international condemnation, which was met with the threat from Pretoria to withdraw its membership with the ICC.
The Sudanese leader has avoided justice since his indictment in 2009 for alleged crimes in the Darfur conflict in which 300 000 people were killed and two million forced to flee their homes.
The SA government made no immediate announcement whether it would appeal against the ruling.
It has been said that South Africa’s failure to arrest Al-Bashir is regarded as a betrayal of Mandela’s ideas.. go to the comments bar and share your thoughts with us.