Home | News    Thursday 16 July 2009

S. Africa under pressure over Sudanese president warrant


July 15, 2009 (WASHINGTON) — The government of South Africa must clarify its position on the African Union (AU) decision asking its members not to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the extradition of Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, more than a dozen NGO’s said in a joint statement today.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma

The AU has reportedly said that their decision was in response to the UNSC ignoring their request to suspend the arrest warrant.

The NGO’s were also joined by several prominent South African figures including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Richard Goldstone, former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

The AU adopted the resolution halting the cooperation with the ICC during their summit earlier this month in Libya. South Africa a signatory to the Rome Statute has made no objections to the draft text despite being a signatory to the Hague based court.

“As a State Party to the Rome Statute, South Africa is obliged to cooperate fully with the ICC in the arrest and transfer of President al-Bashir to the ICC, whether or not it agrees with the indictment” the statement read.

“Should the South African government persist with its support for the decision it will do so in open defiance of its own Constitution and law”.

South African officials have remained largely silent on the issue since the adjournment of the summit though some of them speaking on background defended their position on the grounds that Bashir is crucial to the peace process in Sudan.

But Howard Varney, from Cape Town’s International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) disagreed in an interview today with Voice of America (VOA).

“We do not believe it is. If it in fact was, and relevant supporting information had been put to the Security Council, then I am sure the Security Council would have considered that and invoked Article 16 of their own statute, which allows for the deferral that the Mbeki panel of the AU have called for,” he said.

“Certain information that is emerging from Sudan is that al-Bashir himself does not necessarily make or break the agreement” he added.

Last week the South African ‘Business Day’ cited the spokeswoman of the Department of International Relations and Co-operation Nomfanelo Kota as saying that while South African government would explain its position in due course, the AU resolution was not indicative of the government’s attitude to the ICC.

The coalition of civic groups called on President Jacob Zuma to “state unequivocally that South Africa will honor its treaty obligations under the Rome Statute to cooperate fully with the ICC”.

They also urged the government to abide by the South African Constitution and the Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act 27 of 2002.

Comfort Ero, head of the ICTJ warned that they are willing to take further steps if the government does not respond positively to their calls.

“We seek a commitment from SA government that it will comply with the letter of the law in this regard. We await this clarification and we will then decide how to further engage and respond,” she said.

Al-Bashir faces an outstanding arrest warrant by the ICC in connection with crimes allegedly committed in Sudan’s Western region of Darfur.

Last May South Africa informed Sudan that Bashir would be arrested if he attends the inauguration of the president-elect Jacob Zuma. Sudan’s First Vice President Salva Kiir was dispatched instead.

South Africa along with Botswana were the only two countries to publicly announce their intention to execute the arrest warrant if needed.


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  • 16 July 2009 08:17, by Samson Shawel Ambaye

    God be with ICC Botswana and Ugandan authorities.
    President Zuma you are president of a rich and big country requiring matured leader who is committed for what he says instead of changings his words every few weeks like children.

    Africans and the international community admired you for standing with victims of Darfur when you supported ICC and warned Bashir that he will be arrested for coming to SA. Now with in few weeks you seem changing your word or being in dilema making decision.

    May be since you took office in the past few weeks you faced some South Africans opposition individuals and you listed them in your mind to kill them one day and you feared that ICC will arrest you for your killing because the entire African leaders fighting to stop the arrest of Bashir are criminals of similar crimes like Bashir and they are scared of being the next Bashir by ICC.

    If you are innocent of crimes of Bashir please continue defending victims of Darfur instead of the criminal Bashir.
    Cooperate with ICC and let the next generation African leaders learn that when they kill their citizens they will be arrested by the ICC and they may not kill their own citizens.

  • 16 July 2009 08:43, by M.C.C Kul-chi-gongic

    Dear South African NGOs.

    You should tell President Jacob Zuma to resign if he is still continuing defending criminal Al-Bashir not to face ICC charges. Mr Zuma should understand that Omer Al-Bashir is number one criminal in Africa. He killed 30,000 darfurian. If you don’t change your mind within this week you will go to Hague with your friend Mr Criminal Al-Bashir because you was charged with corruption last year. Let the fucken criminal die alone, he is murderer. Al-Bashir is wanted by the ICC on ten charges of three counts of genocide, two counts of war crimes(rape) and five counts of crimes against humanity, what is wrong with you Zuma.

    • 16 July 2009 09:43, by Apalo Mana

      You are right Mr MCC Kul-Chi I think for the ICC should take immediate action against the African leaders whom they are suporting and defending the criminal issues and moreover if you defending a criminal person then you will a count in the same way. So we have seen the most of the African leaders were stood beside the one who does the crimes against the humanity not in the Western Region but all over the country. So Mr S. Africa President what is your hero in this common situation ? Are you going to add your name in the African Leaders list of the defendence of the crimes I think your answer is no because there’s statment of announcment from you already about the arrest warrants against Sudanese president Al-basheir Idon’t know how is your pressure now please tell the truth
      And god bless you and the people of South Africa

  • 16 July 2009 09:06, by Abraham Agoth HOl

    What a shame !!!

    why do some African leaders fear Omer?
    Omer is not the whole sudan, he is an individual leader whose leadership is full of terrorism, dictatorship and shariasim, all in all, he can be eliminated and we still survive.

    Sincerely, let’s all be aware of his steps forward sharia rule and try to predict his inner view of vision that he wants sudan to become.
    why do we defend him and it is clear for him to have the above mentioned threats?
    Let him go so that sudan’s environment can breathe and plants that have died regrow!!!

    Nhialic Deng Abuk kony koc ICC ku bik Bashir dom buk nhiim pal kaken rec ye looi sudann e tene.

    • 16 July 2009 09:20, by M.C.C Kul-chi-gongic

      Tene Abraham Agoth

      Yin aci kapath apei luel. Na cok a lon ci yeben dom yene Omer Bashir ke yene abi thou arot, rin yene aci yic nger arek ke jaal cath ke koth, koth, koth kayapath.

      Thongmuongjang die akornyin gatic.

      Yin aca leec apei

    • 18 July 2009 14:48, by yeka peter Hillary

      brother, its not the case of shame or fear of president Omar Hassan El-bashir but the future of CPA.

      secondly; being a leader one need not to rush into issues with analysing the repacasion and the advantages toward the citizens because when you rush into issues, its not you to face the consiquences but the citizens. and you rushing into things, you’ll make the person alert at all times and will become wild.

      so we should not be influenced with some one staying in his comfortable building and having 24 hr meal without complain, good security etc to drag us into problem again.

      we have been suffering alot, so lets enjoy the dividends of our CPA even if our leaders are corrupt.

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