The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) says the question on whether Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir should have been arrested while in South Africa centres not around whether he would have been prosecuted in the country’s courts but rather that he should have been handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC), for prosecution.
International Criminal Justice Lawyer at the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), Angela Mudukuti, says the African National Congress’ (ANC) stance on the International Criminal Court (ICC) is unfortunate.
Mudukuti says there have been complaints about how to reform the ICC, but adds: “We can only reform the ICC from within, withdrawing from the ICC won’t fix the problem.”
She expressed the SALC’s disappointment with the ANC’s response and that “the South African government and the ANC should be in ICC to fight impunity and to protect human rights.”
The Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) says it has written an open letter to the South African ministers of Justice and of International Relations and Co-operation, asking that South Africa abide by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court 27 of 2002 (the ICC Act).
SALC executive director, Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh, states that South Africa's own law and its membership of the ICC obliges it to apprehend Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan Al Bashir, if he attends the African Union summit next month.
United Nations (UN) secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has urged African Union (AU) member states to honour their obligations to the Rome Statute regarding the criminal prosecution of a Head of State.
Ban, whose call comes after the AU’s resolution that no Head of State should be tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC) while in office, believes it is not for the Secretary General to interpret the provisions of the Rome Statute.
Gambia has notified the United Nations of its withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC), which will take effect on November 10, 2017, U.N. spokesperson Farhan Haq said on Monday, making it the third country to quit The Hague-based tribunal.
In October, Gambia's Information Minister Sheriff Bojang described the ICC as "an International Caucasian Court for the persecution and humiliation of people of colour, especially Africans." The tiny West African nation said in late October it planned to pull out of the ICC.
President Jacob Zuma says South Africa could soon pull out of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Zuma, who was giving his assessment of the African Union (AU) summit, noted that he and his fellow leaders had discussed Africa’s growing concerns with the manner in which the ICC had conducted itself in relation to African countries.
Zuma’s threat to withdraw from the ICC came in the wake of the last AU summit, in Sandton last June which was attended by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is a fugitive from the ICC for alleged atrocities in Darfur.
Presiding officer of African Union's civil society organisation the Economic, Cultural and Social Council, Joseph Chilengi, says they are calling on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to reform and transform.
The political body of the ICC will meet at the Hague as tensions grow over the court's relationship with Africa.
Kenya is sending a large delegation of MPs to lobby for changes to how the court works, while South Africa is likely to raise its desire to leave the international court.
The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) says it would be a mockery of justice if the South African government could allow Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir into the country again, following this year’s controversial visit.
SALC’s international criminal justice lawyer, Angela Mudukuti, argues that, “I think it would be great travesty if President Al-Bashir were to come again because there is a standing order for his arrest.”
Image courtesy of ISS Africa
Whether South Africa really had to make the stark choice between honouring its international and domestic legal obligations on the one side, and fulfilling its commitments to Africa on the other, is a matter of conjecture.
There may be some validity to the argument that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has shown a bias against prominent African figures by focusing its prosecutorial efforts on warlords, dictators and génocidaires from this continent alone, while ignoring serious human rights violations elsewhere; especially those perpetrated by Western nations or their proxies in the Middle-East and Western Asia.