Home | News    Friday 28 May 2010

South Africa warns Sudan’s Bashir to stay away from World Cup event

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May 27, 2010 (WASHINGTON) – South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma today reaffirmed his country’s commitment to execute the arrest warrant against Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir should he set foot in the country for the opening of the 2010 FIFA World Cup next month, according to media reports.

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South African President Jacob Zuma (AFP)

Bashir was sworn in today for a new five-year term following his victory in last month’s multiparty elections, the first of its kind in 24 years. He is the first sitting head of state charged for war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"South Africa respects the international law and certainly we are signatories [to ICC Statute] and we abide by the law," Zuma told lawmakers, when asked in parliament if Bashir would be arrested under the warrant claiming his responsibility for war crimes in Sudan’s Western region of Darfur.

Pressed again whether Bashir would or would not be arrested if he entered South Africa, in view of the fact all African heads of state had been invited to the major soccer event Zuma reiterated his position.

"In my response, that’s the first thing I answered. I answered very clearly that South Africa respects the international law. And that answers the question,"

South Africa is a signatory to the Rome Statute which is the founding treaty of the ICC meaning they are legally obligated to arrest the Sudanese head of state if he arrives in their territory.

The inauguration ceremony of Bashir witnessed the presence of Collins Chabane who is South Africa’s Minister in the Presidency responsible for Monitoring and Evaluation.

“In his congratulatory message to President Al-Bashir, President Zuma commended the Sudanese people for successfully completing this important first step in the democratic transformation of the Sudan. President Zuma further reiterated the government’s commitment to support the Sudanese political role-players as they continue their efforts to put Sudan on the path of peace, stability, democracy and economic development,” said a statement by South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

“The next months will be a critical period in the history of the sister country of the Sudan. The implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement will culminate in the holding of a historic referendum on the unity of the Sudan in which the people of Southern Sudan will decide on whether they remain part of the Sudan or form an independent state. The Republic of South Africa stands ready to support the Sudanese people as they complete this historic task”.

Zuma told South African lawmakers that "these elections, notwithstanding challenges, are viewed as a positive step towards the democratic transition of Sudan as envisaged" in the peace agreement.

South Africa has made it clear several times since Bashir’s indictment in March 2009 that he is vulnerable to apprehension. This was despite the African Union (AU) decision in July of last year to halt cooperation with the ICC in executing the warrant.

However, South Africa issued a formal statement afterwards saying it cannot abide by that resolution.

Today the South African president said that the position of the AU is not to scrap the warrant but to defer it for 12 months with a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution to give time to fix the crises in the East African nation.

“We reconcile our participation in the process while the leader of that country [Sudan] has the warrant of arrest, on the basis of the African Union decision," Zuma said.

"The AU took a very deliberate decision and requested the international court to postpone the action against Bashir, given the fact that we’re dealing with a situation of violence, that if it acted immediately, it could reverse the situation in Sudan,” he added.

"That was done collectively by the African leaders and the message was sent. It was correct to do so, because our view was that if you did that, that situation could have got worse. That’s what the AU has said. The AU has not said we must not arrest Bashir”.

"It looked at the situation and felt it was necessary to move cautiously on this matter. That’s what we’ve done. And that’s why we’re reconciling the two points," he said.

(ST)

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  • 28 May 2010 03:58, by Angelo Ajiech Manyuat

    Thanks you so president Zuma. In fact, I do really appreciated your decision of respecting the international law. President Bashir deserve to be punished for his role in Darfur and Southern Sudan. As it said, those who lives by sword, die by sword. Stick to your decision and don’t be like ex president Mr. Thabo who likes to play dirty game.

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    • 28 May 2010 06:13, by Jonglei-watchdog

      Thank Jacob Zuma for that statement. Let me hope that you will execute your statement. Let all the African leaders fo this for Justice.

      Bashir Must answer for the war crimes he has committed in Darfur in The Hague.

      repondre message

  • 28 May 2010 04:01, by king

    Not later but sooner, this president need to be arrested so there will no more suffer for Durfur people. Go ICC arrest him with in shout time.

    repondre message

    • 28 May 2010 15:45, by kilo malual

      Dear King,

      It would have been better if president Basher had not been told about his arrest before his arrival to South Africa now he will just enjoy World Cup with rest of his collegues in Khartoum and will not go there again am sorry.

      repondre message

  • 28 May 2010 06:00, by telfajbago

    Thumb up to you Mr. President Zumba, may God keep you to the better good of your people and the entire Africa .Mr. Mike McCurry had said" in the midst of the genocide even one individual can make a difference”. And indeed, you are making difference today. And I can imagine how greater difference will be if all African head of states took your stance. The blood of the voiceless Darfurians is bounding for justice.

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  • 28 May 2010 07:01, by Sudan virus

    President Zuma the hopeless ousted president of south Africa Thambo Baki is hiding here,trying to Bar Bashiir from the arrest.

    He too needs to be punished.

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  • 28 May 2010 09:30, by DASODIKO

    The Republic of South Africa was born as a minerate for entire contenent of Africa; therefore; the true leader of this country will never mess up with the issues of justice. If you have been wrong will never allow it to happen on someone else because injustice is very bitter unplatable act.
    Go go Bashir to South Africa and you will catch your death; or otherwise send Taha before his name come up in the list. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, what a pitty; all Sudanese money you have stollen will never save you from the bad acts you have committed on innocent civilians.

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    • 28 May 2010 10:09, by david kong paul

      Zuma,

      You are a true son of Africa! You are totally an independent leader who don’t need cash money from Bashiir like Mbeki do.

      So keep the good work and God will top up your days.

      Thanks

      Dave Rock

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      • 28 May 2010 17:39, by Machingela gai

        It is just more than thank to prsident Zuma. That is the voice we need from someone like him. Bashir seems to seek his way out of all crimes he had committed through wealth dreamers, but not from truth holders. A bribery will come short one day! Although he trying to clean up himself through our oil’s money, God’s punishment is not fool to let him go unpunished like that. Some will say no to his punishment and some will yes to his punishment, but one day truth will reveal. If we have other ten leaders like Mr.Zuma, our problems cannot double like they are without solutions near the side. Good job can reward a person through blessing from a giver of life...and it is always and a blessing to you, Zuma.

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  • 29 May 2010 20:54, by Deng Ateny Lueth

    Deng, i’m so expresed with South African president, warning the chickenhead bashir of the consequences he may face, should he attempt to attend world cup in south Africa.

    repondre message

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