Home | News    Monday 15 June 2015 (Date first published: 1 B.C.).

Sudan says South African government vowed to ignore ruling by High Court judge

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June 14, 2015 (WASHINGTON/KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government asserted that they have received strong assurances from South Africa that it has no intention to abide by the High Court ruling regarding president Omer Hassan al-Bashir.

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Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir attends the opening session at the 25th African Union Summit in Sandton, Johannesburg on June 14, 2015 (AFP Photo/Gianluigi Guercia)

Ibrahim Ghandour, Sudan foreign minister, told state TV that Pretoria informed them that opposition parties moved the case against Bashir in a “small court” and that they asked them not to worry about it.

"The Foreign Minister of South Africa, assured us that they are proud of the participation of President al-Bashir and that they are responsible for protecting him, adding that this [issue] belongs to them and their opposition and we must not be concerned about it" Ghandour said.

The Sudanese diplomat asserted that Bashir himself is not worried about this and will return home as planned after completing his programme of work.

He slammed the International Criminal Court (ICC) as targeting Africans on behalf of western nations and said that their moves are “of no value”.

The judge from the South African High court reaffirmed the decision he issued on Sunday morning ordering the government of Johannesburg not to allow Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir to leave.

Judge Hans Fabricius in Pretoria listened to the government attorneys argue that communicating the order to all officials in pertinent agencies is impractical and failure to implement the ban should not result in a finding of contempt if Bashir ended up leaving.

They also that asserted that Bashir would not leave as the African Union (AU) summit he is attending is not due to conclude until Monday.

But the attorney representing Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) accused the government of shielding info on Bashir and insisted that an order is issued to place airports under surveillance of the Home Affairs to ensure that the Sudanese president does not leave.

The government attorneys asked for adjournment till tomorrow to prepare to rebut SALC application since they did not have time to do so today.

Following intense deliberations, the judge issued a new decision stating that Bashir is prohibited from leaving South Africa until a final order is made on SALC application and ordered the government to take all necessary steps to prevent him from doing so.

Judge Fabricius ordered the Director General of Home Affairs to “effect service of the order on the official in charge of each and every point of entry into and exit from [South Africa]”.

The order was addressed to the Director of Home Affairs, South African Police Service , the National Director of Public Prosecutions, the head of the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation and the Director of the priority crimes Litigation Unit.

The interim order issued by the judge today came to allow time to hear the request of applicants who asked for “mandamus” against the government to compel it to arrest president Bashir.

On Monday morning the judge is expected to hear the merits of this case but it is not clear when he might make a decision.

Bashir was indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2009 over alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Darfur conflict.

The case is a complex one centering mainly on the issue of immunity for heads of states and whether Bashir attending a regional summit would enjoy it despite the ICC warrant.

On Sunday, ICC judges said that South Africa has an obligation to execute the arrest warrant against the Sudanese leader and that there exists no legal argument relieving them from doing so.

South Africa will likely refer to the AU decision ordering member states not to cooperate with the ICC in the case of Bashir.

In August 2009 the South African Department of Foreign Affairs issued a detailed statement outlining its position on the AU resolution regarding Bashir from a legal and political perspective.

“An international arrest warrant for President al-Bashir has been received and endorsed by a magistrate. This means that if President al-Bashir arrives on South African territory, he will be liable for arrest” the statement said.

In Khartoum, the Sudanese foreign ministry emphasized that Bashir’s program of work would continue as normal in South Africa and that the court order would not impact it.

The ministry added that Bashir’s safety is not threatened and that South African authorities told them that they are committed to the AU decision on cooperation with the court.

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress said on its Twitter account Sunday that it “holds the view that the International Criminal Court is no longer useful for the purposes for which it was intended.”

BASHIR DEPARTURE

There has been much confusion about Bashir’s whereabouts for much of Sunday after he missed a lunch banquet for AU leaders.

Afterwards Sudanese government spokesperson Ahmed Bilal told Bloomberg that Bashir is on his way back to Khartoum. But the Sudanese foreign ministry later denied this.

Bashir was also seen at the AU convention center acting normally.

It is widely expected that despite the court ruling, the South African government will allow Bashir to leave the country and try to tell the court then that he left without their knowledge rendering the legal case moot.

Some reporters on Twitter said that Bashir’s presidential jet was moved to Waterkloof military airbase from Tambo International Airport on Sunday night in what appeared preparation for his departure.

They mentioned that the judge order does not oblige the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) which owns the base, to implement the decision barring Bashir from travelling thus posing a legal loophole.

Jakkie Cilliers, executive director of the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies, told the Financial Times (FT) it was highly unlikely that South Africa would detain Bashir but said the situation was “hugely embarrassing” for President Jacob Zuma’s government.

“They are in a difficult position,” he said. “The South African government must have a rabbit hole here, I can’t believe they were not planning for this.”

US & EU Positions

The European Union (EU) and the United States issued carefully worded statements urging South Africa to adhere to its obligations and hold perpetrators of war crimes accountable.

“In accordance with established approach of the EU and its Member States, the EU expects South Africa, a founding State Party of the Court, to act in accordance with UN Security Council 1593, in executing the arrest warrant against any ICC indictee present in the country,” the EU said.

The US noted that while it is not an ICC member “we strongly support international efforts to hold accountable those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes”.

“In light of the atrocities in Darfur, we call on the Government of South Africa to support the international community’s efforts to provide justice for the victims of these heinous crimes” the US State department said.

The US embassy in Khartoum said it instructed its personnel to avoid large gatherings in light of the row relating to Bashir’s presence in South Africa.

BASHIR SAYS ICC ’DEAD’

In statements to the Turkey-based Anadolu news agency, Bashir said that African leaders "refuse guardianship and that they the masters of their decision,".

He went on to say that the ICC "is finished and the summit of South Africa are only for the funeral and burial".

Despite demands by Sudan however, it is not expected that the AU summit would call for mass ICC withdrawal.

The National Umma Party (NUP) of Sudan led by former Prime Minister al-Sadiq al-Mahdi said that while they support justice and accountability, there is need for bearing the political considerations.

Al-Mahdi proposed offering Bashir suspension of ICC proceedings through United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in return for pledges from him on peace and democratization.

The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) of Sudan called for mass demonstrations to receive president Bashir upon his return tomorrow.

(ST)

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  • 14 June 2015 15:36, by Ahmed Chol

    He bribed Mbeki and all the high officials of South Africa with Oil money for the poor, but I don’t think he can bribe the whole world. This travel was just to show defiance and toughness. I don’t think he will travel again if he escapes this. Sudan bleeds every minute he is in power!

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    • 14 June 2015 21:37, by Clausewitz

      I doubt that the South Africans would commit the folly of handing Omar Al Bashir over to the ICC primarily because it would negatively effect their standing within the African continent, and because it would be counter to the decision taken by the AU to not cooperate with the ICC because of its very clear partiality.

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      • 14 June 2015 21:45, by Clausewitz

        The ICC is not a court of law. The ICC is nothing but the inglorious rebirth of imperial démodé. Diplomacy and *international law* involve demonstrating the benefits and/or risks of proposed international arrangements for all potential parties - and not just for some. The ICC is merely an instrument of European coercion.

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        • 14 June 2015 21:52, by Clausewitz

          The Europeans provide over 60% of the funding for the ICC. Money rules the roost. The golden rule is simple: the one with the gold, rules. The ICC is an unaccountable, diseased pus spewing European boil!

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          • 15 June 2015 12:48, by Observer

            123 countries are States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC. Out of them 34 are African States, 19 are Asia-Pacific States, 18 are from Eastern Europe, 27 are from Latin American and Caribbean States, and 25 are from Western European and other States.

            Africa has the most members

            Funding is same as UN - based on the country’s economy. Still want to spew your baseless drivel?

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            • 15 June 2015 15:11, by Clausewitz

              Observer:

              It is not baseless drivel — it is a fact that the Europeans control this institution and are not bound by it. A great deal of these ‘countries’ that have ratified this ‘treaty’ are in reality just debt-slaves and so your cute number of those who have ratified is ultimately meaningless.

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              • 15 June 2015 15:21, by Clausewitz

                The sovereignty of some of these ratifies is an out-and-out fiction. Do you really expect us to consider countries like Afghanistan to be legitimate signatories? Afghanistan is a country whose government was put in place by western powers and still relies on residual Western forces to control its territory.

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                • 15 June 2015 15:34, by Clausewitz

                  As if to mock the very concept of international law, France ratified the statute of this pseudo court and announced that it did not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction over war crimes except when these crimes were alleged to have been committed by non-French citizens or outside French territories. Do you consider this to be fair?

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                  • 15 June 2015 15:48, by Clausewitz

                    The ratification registry of this pseudo court features many of the world’s poorest and most highly indebted countries — Bolivia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Djibouti, etc. Most of these ratifiers are beneficiaries of European development aid, which necessarily means that they have so very much to gain from signing up to European dominated institutions.

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                    • 15 June 2015 15:57, by Clausewitz

                      A million indebted countries could join this feckless institution – placating themselves to a European enterprise, but it would mean absolutely nothing. Why did you imagine that evoking the funding mechanism of the UN was going to strengthen your argument when we know that the UN is controlled by only five countries?

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                      • 15 June 2015 16:28, by Clausewitz

                        This is what Robert Cooper [a prominent Special Advisor at the European Commission and a former adviser to Tony Blair] said about the role that post-modern institutions like the ICC would play in global affairs:

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                        • 15 June 2015 16:30, by Clausewitz

                          The challenge... is to get used to the to the idea of double standards. Among ourselves, we operate on the basis of laws and open co-operative security. But when dealing with more old-fashioned kinds of states outside the postmodern continent of Europe, we need to revert to the rougher methods of an earlier era - force, pre-emptive attack, deception, whatever is necessary to deal with those...

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                          • 15 June 2015 16:33, by Clausewitz

                            .. who still live in the nineteenth century world… Among ourselves, we keep the law but when we are operating in the jungle, we must also use the laws of the jungle.

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                            • 15 June 2015 16:39, by Clausewitz

                              Robert Cooper [in his endorsement of the ICC] also said this:

                              What is needed then is a new kind of imperialism, one acceptable to a world of human rights and cosmopolitan values. We can already discern its outline: an imperialism which, like all imperialism, aims to bring order and organization but which rests today on the voluntary principle.

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              • 15 June 2015 17:17, by Observer

                Have you ACTUALLY read who is a signatory?

                You are a NCP govt troll.. whom used to spurn the NCP propaganda under a different name...welcome back..

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                • 15 June 2015 18:02, by Clausewitz

                  Observer:

                  Yes, I know who the signatories are, and this is precisely why I provided the much needed context to the numbers you thought would give credence to the ICC. I am not an NCP troll... I despise the Ignaz Nazis. I despise that tyrannical and genocidal ’government’, but it’s clear that the ICC is not a court and this is why I am opposed to it.

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  • 14 June 2015 19:41, by Eastern

    Cheap, cheap and cheap! Al Bashir will sleep peacefully in his palace in Khartoum. It’ll be business as usual in Darfur. Darfuri and should test their own medicines! They were drafted to kill people in Southern Sudan. Now Al Bashir should deal with them!

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    • 14 June 2015 20:13, by Bentiu Sudan

      Eastern,

      I agree with you what come around go around. The People of Darfur had been killing South Sudanese for a long time. And they refused to joined the SPLA simply because the people of South Sudan are not Muslims. Let them test the medicines. Second, if ICC is a Justice court, then they should indicate Salva Kiir who committed untold crimes far more than President Bashire.

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      • 15 June 2015 13:27, by Kenyang

        We are placing cart before the horse. Justice for Al Bashir victims which is documented internationally should come first.

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  • 15 June 2015 06:40, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

    the ICC, should first summon the AU, is the first terror organization which hosts the criminals Presidents in Africa.

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  • 15 June 2015 12:52, by Observer

    South Africa government lawyer says Bashir still in the country

    Reuters

    32 minutes ago PRETORIA (Reuters) - The South African government said on Monday that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was still in the country.

    "To the best of our knowledge as a government, he is in the country. If there is anything to the contrary, we will bring it to the attention of the court," the government lawye

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  • 15 June 2015 12:59, by Kenyang

    AU is a disease, in fact a HIV cancer to Africans. Ethiopia has high HIV infection because these goons go there everyday.
    If South Africa fails to lead by arresting Al Bashir, #1 terrorist from National Islamic Front aka Muslim Brotherhood, I wouldn’t see any reason South Sudan waste time listening to AU including South Africa.

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