South Africa slammed over Bashir exit

South African court criticises government for Sudanese President Omar al Bashir exit despite ICC arrest warrant

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A South African court has criticised the government for allowing Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to leave despite an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant against him.  

The public prosecutor was asked by the court to investigate if the South African government had broken the law, the BBC said.

Bashir had left Johannesburg on June 15 and headed back to Sudan’s capital Khartoum despite a South African travel ban temporarily preventing him from leaving the country pending a decision on whether or not he would be submitted to the ICC.

The ICC issued a warrant for Bashir’s arrest in 2009 on charges accusing him of war crimes for ordering a violent crackdown on a rebellion in Darfur.

Bashir decided to travel to Johannesburg to attend the summit despite the high risk of his arrest as South African human rights advocacy groups and lawyer unions campaigned for his arrest in correlation with the ICC’s warrant.

Similar lobbying from groups and unions prevented Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi from attending the summit fearing his own arrest.

The ICC holds no police force within itself and uses the forces of its members to carry out arrests.

The President of the assembly of states to the ICC, Sidiki Kaba, stated that there would be negative consequences for the court if South Africa refused to implement its obligations.

The main opposition and human rights organisations in South Africa have also called on the government to arrest the Sudanese president.

There has been a conflict in Darfur since 2003 when rebel groups deposed the government and captured it. 300,000 people died in the conflict, mostly from diseases, according to UN reports.

The ICC  accused Bashir of war crimes and genocide after carrying out an investigation in region.

TRTWorld and agencies