South African government poises to appeal Bashir ruling

South African government says to appeal Sudan President Bashir ruling at highest court

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Sudan"s President Omar al-Bashir (R) and his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma address a joint news conference at the Palace in Khartoum February 1, 2015.

South Africa’s justice ministry said on Friday, it will appeal at the constitutional court a ruling that the state made a mistake to allow Sudanese President Omar Hassan al Bahir to depart from the country.  

Last June, President Bashir, who was in South Africa for an African Union summit was allowed to escape even though a court had issued a warrant to arrest him.

The court said he should have been arrested to face war crime charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) because as an ICC signatory, South Africa is obliged to implement arrest warrants. 

Pretoria says diplomatic immunity was granted to all African leaders at the AU summit.

In March, South Africa's government lost an appeal against the initial ruling at the Supreme Court (SCA). The Constitutional Court offers the state its last chance of overturning the ruling.   

"Government has today filed for leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court against the judgment delivered by Supreme Court," the justice ministry said in a statement.

"We believe that the legal uncertainties ... can be properly pronounced on by the Constitutional Court. Government therefore believes that there is a reasonable possibility that the Court will arrive at a different conclusion."

Following the court initial hearing, the ruling African National Congress party said South Africa should withdraw from the ICC, which African states have accused the court of bias against the continent.