South Africa violated its obligations to theInternational Criminal Court by failing to arrest Sudan’s President Hassan al-Bashir when he visited in 2015, the court’s judges said in a ruling on Thursday. However, the war crimes court judges declined to refer South Africa to the U.N. Security Council over the matter. They noted that South African courts had already censured the government for its failure in Bashir’s case and said referring it to the UN would likely have little effect.
James Selfe, James Selfe MP, Chairperson of the DA’s Federal Executive
Today’s unanimous ruling by the International Criminal Court (ICC) that South Africa had the duty to arrest Omar Al Bashir in June 2015 and failed to adhere to the Rome Statute and the Court’s ruling by not arresting Al Bashir is an indictment on the ANC-led government.
This judgement reiterates what the DA has long held – that the actions of the ANC-led government in June 2015 showed a disregard for the Rule of Law and for the principle of justice.
The ICC ruled further in today’s judgement that:
• The South African government’s argument of “diplomatic immunity” of sitting heads of state was not valid;
• Al Bashir was NOT covered by diplomatic immunity in South Africa for the AU summit in June 2015;
• South Africa was not entitled to unilaterally not comply with the court’s decision to arrest and surrender him to the court; and
• South Africa had no right to dispense of its duties in terms of the Rome Statute.
This ruling upholds the ruling of our domestic courts on this matter and is thus to be welcomed whole-heartedly.
It is however of grave concern that the ANC remains committed to the stance of withdrawing from the ICC, having reiterated this sentiment at its policy conference.
The ANC seems intent on relegating South Africa to the status of a scumbag nation which protects the law-breakers and corruptors of this world.
Ironically, while South Africa tried to lead an African wide revolt against the ICC, only Burundi and Gambia followed in our footsteps, and even then, Gambia reversed their withdrawal earlier this year.
The DA will continue to do everything possible to ensure that our country remains a democracy where the Rule of Law is sovereign – the days of protection for those close to Zuma and the ANC, be they Al Bashir or the Gupta family, are numbered.
Today’s ruling is another nail in the ANC’s coffin and is another reason why people across South Africa are turning their support towards the DA in numbers.