South African judge suggests charging South Africa’s government over President Omar Al’Bashir’s flight from the country.
July 2, 2015 Still on issues from SA, following the exit of Omar Al’Bashir from the country against the orders of the ICC, a South African judge, High Court Judge Dustan Mlambo, has asked prosecutors to consider charging the government over defying legal orders from Pretoria and the International Criminal Court.
It is recalled that Bashir flew out of South Africa on June 15 as world powers and activists were urging the government to arrest him under a warrant from the global court. He was facing charges of masterminding genocide and other atrocities in Sudan’s Darfur region. The Judge feels that as a signed up member of the International Criminal Court, South Africa was wrong to offer Bashir immunity from prosecution, especially as the nation is bound to carry out ICC warrants.
High Court Judge Dustan Mlambo addressed the matter in a televised statement in court.
“As a court of law, we are obviously the wrong forum for the ventilation of regional and international policy consideration, which as we say above were not ventilated before us. We, however, find it prudent to invite the ICC (International Criminal Court) to take cognizance on the issues that arise in this matter. As we demonstrate in this judgment, South Africa is not the only Rome-statute signatory that has failed to carry out its obligation, its duties in terms of that statute when it could have done so based on a conflict between its regional affiliation on the one hand and its broader international obligations on the other,”
Despite the country’s government saying it had granted Bashir immunity to attend a summit in its territory, High Court Judge Mlambo said that disregarding Pretoria’s law is wrong and warranted further investigation by the Public Prosecutions office.
He had this to say, “The departure of President Bashir from this country before the finalization of this application and in the full awareness of the explicit order of Sunday 14 June 2015, objectively viewed, demonstrates non-compliance with that order. For this reason we also find it prudent to invite the National Director of Public Prosecutions to consider whether criminal proceedings are appropriate”
South Africa has also joined other African governments in accusing the court of anti-African bias, saying the ICC’s cases have so far only targeted African states and it has convicted just two minor African warlords since it started work in 2002.
The man in question, Omar Al’Bashir has regularly dismissed these charges that have restricted his travelling and purport him as a criminal.