Court bars Omar al Bashir from leaving South Africa

South Africa’s president accuses ICC of imposing selective justice.


Reuters June 14, 2015
Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir. PHOTO: FILE

JOHANNESBURG: A South African judge barred Sudan’s indicted president from leaving the country on Sunday, in a deepening rift between Africa and the West over what Pretoria called anti-poor country bias in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

President Omar al Bashir, visiting South Africa for an African Union summit, stands accused in an ICC arrest warrant of war crimes and crimes against humanity over atrocities committed in the Darfur conflict. He was first indicted in 2009.

A judge is expected on Monday to hear an application calling for Bashir’s arrest, though this appears unlikely as South Africa’s government has granted legal immunity to all African Union delegates.

South African President Jacob Zuma’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) responded furiously to Sunday’s court order, accusing The Hague-based ICC of seeking to impose selective Western justice by singling out Africans.

“The ANC holds the view that the ICC is no longer useful for the purposes for which it was intended,” the ANC said in a statement. “Countries, mainly in Africa and Eastern Europe ... continue to unjustifiably bear the brunt of the decisions of the ICC, with Sudan being the latest example.”

A human rights group, the Southern African Litigation Centre, earlier petitioned the Pretoria High Court to force the government to issue an arrest warrant for Bashir.

Judge Hans Fabricius postponed the hearing until 0930 GMT on Monday to allow the government time to prepare its case, urging South African authorities to “take all necessary steps” to prevent Bashir from leaving the country.

Sudan’s government defended the South African visit of Bashir and said the court order had “no value”.

“We contacted South Africa in advance and informed them that the president would participate and they highly welcomed his participation,” Sudan’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kamal Ismail, told reporters in Khartoum.  “What is being mentioned in the media is a propaganda campaign against Sudan.”

Published in The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2015. 

COMMENTS

Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ

E-Publications

Most Read