Home | News    Friday 31 July 2009

South Africa reverses course on ICC arrest warrant for Bashir

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July 30, 2009 (WASHINGTON) — Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir will be arrested if he sets foot in South Africa, a foreign ministry official in Pretoria said today.

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Sudanese President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir (AFP)

Al-Bashir is charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Sudan’s Western region of Darfur.

The arrest warrant places an obligation on all countries including 30 African states that ratified the Rome Statute, which is the founding text of the court.

However, this month the African Union (AU) issued a resolution instructing its members not to cooperate with the ICC in executing the warrant.

The AU said that the resolution was adopted by consensus though later some countries including Botswana, Chad and Uganda said they are committed to the Rome Statute.

South African officials said they backed the resolution but that it had to be ratified by the parliament before it is effective. However, last week officials there said that they are waiting for the opinion of its legal experts before making a final position on the issue after NGO’s in the country questioned the legality of the AU resolution.

The South African Foreign ministry director-general Ayande Ntsaluba said that his government does not agree with the issuing of the warrant, but “we have certain international obligations”

“Not only that, our Parliament passed a law” enforcing those obligations, Ntsaluba said. “I cannot foresee the government acting outside the framework of the law. We would not renege on our international legal obligations.”

Following the AU resolution, Sudan said that South African position on the ICC warrant has changed since last May when Bashir was warned that he would be arrested if he tried to attend President Jacob Zuma’s inauguration.

“Maybe at one point, the new South African government expressed some negative views ... As South Africa was part of the decision at Sirte, it implies that this means he would be able to travel there” the Sudanese foreign ministry spokesperson Ali Al-Sadiq said.

However, the South African official stressed that Bashir cannot be safe travelling there.

“It [the law] is extremely explicit about what would happen” Ntsaluba said.

“If today President Al-Bashir landed in terms of the provision [of the Rome Statute] he would have to be arrested”.

He added that he had chosen his words carefully because he did not want to sensationalize an issue that was abstract.

“I don’t want to create sensationalism out of an imaginary situation,” said Ntsaluba

The South African official said that the AU will continue to press the UN Security Council (UNSC) for deferring Bashir’s indictment within the confines of international commitments and South Africa’s own constitutional mandate.

The AU has said that their decision on halting cooperation with the ICC is spurred by the UNSC ignoring their request for the suspension.

The new position by South Africa comes as more than 130 civil society and human rights groups across Africa issued a statement today calling on African governments that are signatories to reaffirm their commitment and obligation to the ICC.

“The AU’s decision that states should not cooperate with the ICC threatens to block justice for victims of the worst crimes committed on the continent,” said James Gondi of the Eastern Africa International Criminal Justice Initiative in Nairobi.

“We urge our governments to reaffirm their commitment to fighting impunity by supporting and cooperating with the ICC,” said Oby Nwankwo of Nigeria’s Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre.

The AU decision is contrary to its own constitutive act, which rejects impunity, the group statement said. It also noted that the AU decision was inconsistent with the obligations under the ICC statute that all states parties cooperate with the ICC, including in the arrest and surrender of criminal suspects.

“The ICC remains a crucial court of last resort for Africa when national courts are unable or unwilling to bring justice for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes,” said Anton du Plessis of South Africa’s Institute for Security Studies.

Some African figures have accused the ICC of targeting the continent while ignoring right abuses elsewhere.

Three of the four cases handled by the ICC came at the request of the respective states including Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR).

The Darfur case was referred to the ICC by the UNSC under a Chapter VII resolution since Sudan is not a state party to the Rome Statue.

(ST)

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  • 31 July 2009 06:46, by oshay

    We all knew this was going to happen and before any idiot starts congratulating South Africa use your logic first. South Africa is THE continental powerhouse and it has many commitments to western interests and one is the status quo that South Africa remains a shadow of European rule and in that term respecting its commitments to the ICC.

    It’s kind of silly for South Africa to accept the proposal during the AU summit yet a few weeks later renege on their agreement. Either have a backbone or dismantle the AU all together since every resolution that is vomited out of that organization is either scrapped or not fulfilled.

    repondre message

    • 31 July 2009 07:10, by Garang Arok

      AL BASHIR IS A MERE PIG CAUGHT UP IN THE DESERT WITHOUT WATER,WHERE THE ONLY CHOICE IS DEATH.

      repondre message

    • 31 July 2009 07:13, by MADIT MAJAK CHOL

      Good job South Africa keep up good work. Bashir said that he don’t gave fuck about ICC arrest warrant "he said that the ICC arrest warrant he drink it like water." so if he is man enought what he think he is let him step his foot in South Africa soil. Please ICC don’t be afraid just arrest this son of bitch Bashir he is crimal.

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    • 31 July 2009 09:40, by Aduol Liet

      International are the one to be blame why they don’t arrest this Omar Hassan al Bashir. For International too much talks and a little commitement even when it is very serious case like Omar Hassan al Bashir. Bashir has been visiting many countries in Middle East and Africa unforunately, the International has fail to order Bashir from the countries he was visited in this year. I can not even wasting my sense to talk about International’s power any more.

      Aduol Liet.

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    • 31 July 2009 14:58, by Kur

      Oshay,
      The only people who can support rapists and war criminals are those who have taken part in the crimes themselves. It would be unwise for all sensible Africans to see a genocide perpetrators moving freely in Africa without answering to their crimes. Bashir can move freely in Sudan, where the rule of law does not exist, at least for now. But very soon I think things will change and the real rulers will come and do justice in the country.

      Kur

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    • 31 July 2009 15:15, by Gabriel Green

      Those who disclose the arrest of criminal Bashir are stupid and are paid by Bshir to disclose the secret of the country.Why they don,t keep quite until the announce only when they have arrested him

      to me,this is polical way of passing information to Omar al Bashir not to go where it is risk.One day this bustard criminal will be arrested and this idiot ashay will keep quite.

      repondre message

    • 31 July 2009 23:55, by Sala Gai

      I had ever hearing many people are talking about Mr president Omar al Bashir that he has to go to the ICC, on these website.Is like the subject every day.Mr president Bashir will not go to ICC because he did not commit any crisis in any where in Sudan, if he did so,why You Southern you have had those who commit crisis before, why don’t you take them to ICC rather then leaving your home full of crisis then talking of people president.please talk about Kiir.

      Bashir will not face ICC if not there is one from South is taken to ICC before the Mr Prsident will follow him/her?

      Long leave Salah Gai de Mabior

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    • 1 August 2009 03:08, by Gat-nya-bilkuei

      it is what it is! this Fagot homo Bitchshit will face justices in the hand of ICC arrest.

      repondre message

  • 31 July 2009 07:09, by Samson Shawel Ambaye

    God be with Government of South Africa. Condemning criminals is a proof of innocence. Innocent human beings tend to fight crime. Governments of SA Botswana Chad and Uganda deserve respect and praise for helping ICC for the arrest of Bashir

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    • 31 July 2009 08:39, by 13012 Shepherd

      Bravo! South Africa,

      As the leading economy in the continent, you have all the rights to express your anger towards criminals leaders like Beshir.

      African Union is a failed organization which is dominated by Arabs. How should they give amnesty to Criminal like Omar Beshi.

      Shame on you (indigenous) Africans leaders

      repondre message

  • 31 July 2009 09:54, by the Villager

    Now the numbers is adding up. Bashit, soon someone in your backyard will announce willingness to arrest your ass. you confine yourself in a hole like a desert rat or saddam only to be pick out like a village mouse by the tail.

    the Villager

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    • 31 July 2009 10:19, by Ambago

      Now you better know who keeps the Aces. This one is a long game which is expected to end with a sudden death.

      repondre message

    • 31 July 2009 10:52, by Makol Dhal

      Hey! Oshay & his Bashir today have last paradigm of oil,Oil Oil,Oil every where in Sudan, as they are only thinking about South Africa.
      It is good for those who make bloodshed to have bloodshd in return.

      repondre message

      • 1 August 2009 01:07, by Albee

        Hi Bashir,
        Your time has come for million of people you killed in South,East,West,and within the north,too. Blood is blood so it is not the water,and this is your time you must be arrested now.you have killed so many including my people in the South and you need to face those charges. Another thing is I do not believe ICC will do what it said because ICC said it for long time,so ICC is making a game like Bashir’s game in Sudan. Maybe ICC fear for Bashir’ arrest or what?

        repondre message

  • 1 August 2009 03:07, by Gat-nya-bilkuei

    it is what it is! this Fagot homo Bitchshit will face justices in the hand of ICC arrest

    repondre message

  • 1 August 2009 04:33, by Wad Juba

    It is South Africa’s role, in its capacity as an "African Power House" and an- emerging global force- with future aspirations of a UNSC permanent seat, to arrest any international crimminal on the ICC’s list. So Bashir and Company, should beware that the Zuma adminstration will arrest any low life fugitive/s if they cross into South African territory.

    We the Black Africans have to realise that nothing good has ever come from the so called "Arabs" in Black Africa since slavery. They have terrorised African tribes from Mali to Chad and Sudan, just to name a few. So the time has come for us to pick up the idealogy of the Great Kwame Nkuruma, who was an advocate of Pan Africanism. Black African leaders should follow the example of Botswana, Uganda and South Africa. No more opression from these terrorists, be it by Egypt, as we seen in the case of the Nile Water issue faced by non Arab African countries of the Nile Basin, or Mauritania, where untill today, Black people are still kept as slaves by their Arab masters.

    Like the legendary Bob Marley said; EMANCIPATE YOURSELVES FROM MENTAL SLAVERY, NONE BUT OURSELVES CAN FREE OUR MIND.

    Big up my brethren.

    Wad Jubz "Tha Global Mind"

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  • 1 August 2009 07:16, by Johnny

    And if he set his foots at my backyard, I will take him to ICC too

    repondre message

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