Tags: ICC | al-Bashir | South Africa | Dafur

Court: South Africa Wrong to Let al-Bashir Walk

By    |   Wednesday, 24 June 2015 09:05 AM

South African authorities have squandered what could be the only opportunity to bring Sudan’s president, accused of crimes against humanity, to justice.

Omar al-Bashir is accused of committing genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. He is the first sitting president to be indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). He is accused of being responsible for the genocide of an estimated 300,000 people in Darfur. On Tuesday, June 24, Pretoria’s high court ruled that permitting the Sudan president to leave the country was a clear violation of the law.

The indictment means that any of the 123 countries that are states parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC would be required to arrest al-Bashir if he were to enter their country. He would then be turned over to the ICC where he would stand trial for the charges against him.

South Africa had the opportunity to do exactly that when al-Bashir made a surprise appearance at the African Union Summit in Johannesburg.

The Sudanese president was presumably under the assumption that he was under temporary immunity while attending the summit. When it became apparent that this was not the case he simply had his plane flown to a nearby military base where he boarded and left the country.

The South African authorities elected to do nothing to apprehend him or prevent him from leaving.

South Africa was all too eager to prove its commitment to human rights and the law when it was one of the first in line to sign up with the ICC in 1998. However when it came time to act on that commitment and prove its value to the ICC, the country’s inaction proved that there was little intention behind its hollow oath.

South Africa has successfully avoided rubbing a few African countries the wrong way by letting him walk. However, what this has really accomplished is a confirmation that South Africa cannot be trusted to uphold its end of a treaty when it’s put in a difficult situation.

Matthew Klynsmith earned a business administration diploma at CTI in Cape Town, South Africa. He now works at Strategic Options as an associate partner. To read more reports from Matthew Klynsmith, Go Here Now.

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South African authorities have squandered what could be the only opportunity to bring Sudan’s president, accused of crimes against humanity, to justice.
ICC, al-Bashir, South Africa, Dafur
369
2015-05-24
Wednesday, 24 June 2015 09:05 AM
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