ANC: Why we didn’t arrest Bashir

FILE PICTURE: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir looks on during a welcome ceremony in the capital Khartoum, on June 11, 2015.  AFP PHOTO / ASHRAF SHAZLY

FILE PICTURE: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir looks on during a welcome ceremony in the capital Khartoum, on June 11, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ASHRAF SHAZLY

The ANC has again rallied behind government’s decision not to arrest Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, arguing that it would be “basically” a declaration of war against Sudan.

During a special debate on Al-Bashir’s “escape” from South Africa last week, Deputy Minister of Justice and constitutional Development, John Jeffery, denied that any meeting to plan Al-Bashir’s escape ever existed. A warrant was issued for Al-Bashir last week in line with the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) findings that he be arrested and tried for war crimes.

“The ICC is not the court we signed up for. It has diverted from its mandate and allowed itself to be influenced by a powerful non-member…” Jeffery said.

He added that had South Africa, which was a signatory to the Rome Statute – underpinning the ICC, arrested Al-Bashir, then it would “basically be declaring war [with Sudan]”.

This was after DA MP James Selfe charged that there had been collusion to defy both the ICC and the High Courts’ orders to arrest the statesman.

The Minister of Small Business Lindiwe Zulu was equally steadfast that South Africa had nothing to answer to.

She balked at arguments that Al-Bashir, a head of state, would ever be arrested.

“Can these people really think we are going to arrest a head of state? They must think again?”

She said history would absolve South Africa and that the African Union’s priority was peace and cohesion on the continent.

While the APC asked why there was such a “hullabaloo” about Al-Bashir’s attendance at the AU summit, Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota was scathing.

Lekota argued that if South Africa was not happy with the prescripts of the Rome Statute, then it should have voiced them before the saga.

“They [the government] have failed to uphold the constitution of our land… your oaths you made mean nothing. Now we are shamed before the nations of this world,” he said.

 

 

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