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Government has a duty to arrest Bashir

15 March 2016

Judgment by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) makes it clear that South Africa is not a safe haven for war criminals according to the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC).

The SALC initially took the matter of government’s failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to the High Court in August 2015.

On Monday the ruling confirmed that government had a duty to arrest Bashir in terms of domestic and international law and that its failure to do so was unlawful.

SALC Criminal Justice Lawyer Angela Mudukuti says, “We are waiting to see what government decides to do, or if they decide to take it forward then the legal battle continues with legal arguments before the Constitutional court, we are ready for that and we welcome the opportunity to get a judgment from the court.”

“Government’s failure to arrest al-Bashir was in fact unlawful as the SCA and the High Court have already ruled ,you will remember

that the High Court invited the National Prosecuting Authority to consider criminal contempt of court charges, so we are monitoring developments on that side and watch to see what the NPA makes of this whole situation.”

Meanwhile, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Musi Maimane has called for heads to roll following the Supreme Court of Appeal’s ruling that government acted unlawfully in not arresting al-Bashir 2015.

A-Bashir was in Johannesburg to attend the African Union summit. Maimane says those involved in the saga must be held accountable.

International law expert, Mark Ellis says, “The decision helps to uphold the principle of universal jurisdiction for international crimes,

and the responsibility of South Africa, as a State Party to the Rome Statue of the ICC, to arrest indicted war criminals, including those who are heads of state.”

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