NewsSouthern AfricaSouth Africa government loses Sudan's al Bashir court appeal

Mon,20Nov2017

Posted on Tuesday, 15 March 2016 15:58

South Africa government loses Sudan's al Bashir court appeal

By Crystal Orderson

Sudanese President Al-Bashir has an ICC arrest warrant hanging over his head for alleged crimes against humanity. Photo©ReutersThe South African government on Tuesday lost an appeal against a High Court judgement that condemned its failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir during a visit to the country last year, as unlawful.

According to a judgement of the Supreme Court of Appeal, the government was obliged to arrest al-Bashir in July last year after the High Court ruled in favour of civil society groups who went to court seeking to have the Sudanese leader arrested.

We don't know what our view will be once we interrogate the views of the Judgment

Al-Bashir has an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant hanging over his head for alleged crimes against humanity. And as an ICC member, South Africa was compelled to act on the warrant when the Sudanese leader attended an African Union summit in Johannesburg.

"The decision by the South African government not the arrest Al-Bashir was inconsistent with South African law," Supreme Court judge Carole Lewis said. The judge made the ruling after Justice minister Michale Masuta and 11 others are appealed an order of the Pretoria High Court, handed down in June 2015.

The Southern African Litigation Centre was the applicant in the case.

Meanwhile, a government spokesperson Mtunzi Mhaga told a local radio station that President Jacob Zuma's administration was disappointed by the ruling. "For us we have not had an opportunity to reflect on all the issues and not discussed it with our (legal) counsel," he said.

Mhaga said the government would now 'reflect on issue raised and (decide) whether to escalate the matter to the Constitutional Court as the final arbitrator. "We don't know what our view will be once we interrogate the views of the Judgment," he added.

However, the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said the judgement had exposed the African National Congress (ANC) government. EFF said the ruling had shown that the ANC government 'doesn't know or doesn't have respect for the laws it passes.'

The government had argued that it could not not arrest al-Bashir because he enjoyed immunity as a head of State.

The United Nations estimates that 300 000 people died in the Darfur conflict and the ICC holds al-Bashir responsible for the deaths. But the Sudanese leader has found support from African leaders who are critical of the ICC, which they say only targets leaders from the continent.

The South African government is now under pressure to withdraw from the ICC, with the ANC saying the court is no longer serving Africa's interests.



Subscriptions Digital EditionSubscriptions PrintEdition

FRONTLINE

NEWS

POLITICS

HEALTH

SPORTS

BUSINESS

SOCIETY

TECHNOLOGY

COLUMNISTS

Music & Film

SOAPBOX

Newsletters

Keep up to date with the latest from our network :

subscribe2

Connect with us