22 May 2015
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).
According to the Act South Africa is committed to apprehend and surrender any person suspected of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
The International Criminal Court has indicted that Sudanese president, Omar Hassan Al Bashir and issued a warrant for his arrest for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against civilians in Sudan’s western area of Darfur.
South Africa’s own law and its membership of the ICC obliges it to apprehend Bashir if he attends the African Union summit next month
SALC Executive Director Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh says South Africa’s own law and its membership of the ICC obliges it to apprehend Bashir if he attends the African Union summit next month.
“We want to remind the South African government that South Africa has committed itself to bringing a person suspected of committing genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity to justice by signing the Rome statutes, and by demonstrating their obligations in terms of the Rome statutes.”
Ramjathan-Keogh adds, “So if President Al Bashir was to arrive in South Africa for the AU summit, if the ICC were to request his arrest and surrender the DG (Director General) of the department Justice and constitutional development will have to follow through.”
International Relations and Co-operation department declined to comment saying heads of state attending African Union summit are guests of AU, and not of South Africa.