International Criminal Court (ICC) has released its annual 2015/2016 report in Johannesburg. The group Amnesty International reiterated in its report that South Africa’s shocking failure to heed to its own court order to arrest and hand over Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to International Criminal Court (ICC) is a betrayal of the thousand lives slain in Dafur.
We will recall that President Omar Al-Bashir was declared wanted by the ICC. He was later seen in South Africa where he attended the 25th African Union Summit in Sandton, Johannesburg between 13 June 2015 and 15 June 2015.
Amnesty International maintained that countries like South Africa has continued to subvert the independence of the ICC, thereby denying countless victims justice. The group asserted that South Africa’s role in the drama really shrunk the image of the country globally.
Speaking on how disappointed the international group feels, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for Africa Netsanet Belay said,
“The government, in our review, had no legal basis and no justification to not carry out its obligations and it should have done so.
“That’s a serious taint on South Africa’s image internationally and he needs to do something about that. Now is the time that South Africa should reverse that image”.
In June 2015, the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) successfully launched an application to impel SA government to arrest al Bashir when he Showed up for the African Union Summit in Johannesburg. But, the order was ignored. Reacting after al-Bashir’s escape from South Africa, Netsanet Belay said,
“South Africa’s role was clear from the day President Omar Al-Bashir touched down in the country – he should have been arrested and handed over to the ICC to face trial for the war crimes he is alleged to have committed,” said
“By failing to hand President Omar Al-Bashir over to the ICC during his stay in the country, the South African authorities, under the leadership of President Jacob Zuma, have through their inaction, aided Omar Al-Bashir in his quest to avoid justice.”
“It is completely unacceptable and shocking for South Africa, as a member of the ICC, to ignore its international obligations in this way and allow impunity free rein. Not only has it undermined the country’s commitment to the ICC, it has ridden roughshod over the rights and hopes for justice of all those people who were killed and displaced during the war in Darfur”.
Omar Al-Bashir is accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the conflict in Darfur, Sudan. The conflict which started in 2003 has left more than 400 thousand people dead and displaced over two million others.
In March 2009, he became the first sitting president to be indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), for allegedly spearheading a campaign of massacre, rape, and pillage against civilians in Darfur. He has two warrants of arrest against him issued by the International Criminal Court in 2009 and 2010 respectively.