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Next time Al-Bashir sets foot in SA he will be arrested, or else. ICC

The International Criminal Court (ICC), that organisation charged with making sure people who commit human rights abuses and genocide don’t get away with it, has lashed out at the ANC-led South African government for refusing to arrest accused war-criminal Omar al-Bashir – the dictator who slaughtered thousands of his own people and allegedly tested chemical weapons on them – when he was here for an AU summit back in 2015.

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South African President Jacob Zuma (l) with his Sudanese counterpart Omar al -Bashir (r)

The ANC’s excuse was that AU delegates should be exempt from international law when attending official events, an argument that fell flat and prompted government’s failed attempt to leave the International Criminal Court without getting parliamentary approval.

The ANC’s argument was that the ICC only arrests Africans – well, as far as dictators go, Africa and South America kinda take the cake – and South Africa’s own laws are sufficient to deal with criminal acts internally.

Interestingly, South Africa was one of the first signatories of the Rome Statute, having suffered under the oppression of the Apartheid regime.

Anyway, News24 reports that the ICC, while slamming SA for abandoning its duties to the court, will not be summoned to appear before the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome of Statute or the United Nations Security Council, this time.

“The chamber considers that the referral to the Assembly of State Parties or the Security Council of the United Nations of South Africa’s non-compliance with the court’s request for arrest and surrender of Omar al-Bashir, is not warranted,” Judge Cuno Jakob Tarfusser said while reading out his judgment at the International Criminal Court on Thursday.

Even though the ANC essentially took a dump on international law, and discredited the deaths of so many people under Al-Bashir’s tyranny, the ICC showed restraint in judging us, noting that at least the South African government tried to come up with valid arguments as to why the dictator should walk free.

“The chamber considers that in the case at hand, South Africa was not entitled to rely on its own understanding of Article 98 of the Statute to decide unilaterally not to comply with the court’s request for arrest and surrender of Omar al-Bashir to the court.”

“South Africa as a result of having chosen not to give effect to the court’s request for cooperation would still be found in non-compliance with its obligation to arrest and surrender Omar al-Bashir to the court,” Tarfusser said.

In an interview on EWN’s Kieno Kammies show, ICC spokesperson Fadi El Abdallah makes it clear that SA has used up its one and only get out of jail free card, so to speak


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