Government to present affidavit on Bashir’s departure

Government is expected to present an affidavit to the High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday on why it let Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir leave the country against the interim court order prohibiting his departure.

The court also ruled that al-Bashir should be detained under an International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment on war crime charges.

Government will have to explain why it allowed the Sudanese President to leave the country.

Government earlier said it offered al-Bashir immunity because he was attending an African Union summit in Johannesburg. The ICC in Hague indicted al-Bashir for war crimes in Sudan’s western Darfur in 2003.

The ANC is calling on government to temporarily suspend South Africa’s membership of the International Criminal Court.

It follows controversy over Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir’s recent trip to South Africa.

The ANC has already urged government to work with other African states to protect the ICC from so-called undue influence from non-member states.

The party says the ICC is no longer useful.

Instead, the ANC says the court has allowed itself to be a proxy for powerful non-member states who want to persecute African leaders and effect regime change on the continent.

Opposition MPs said the government had undermined the rule of law it had sworn to protect by helping al-Bashir, who is facing genocide and crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court, leave South Africa.

The ANC insisted the issue was sub judice.

Said DA MP Stevens Mokgalapa: “The government, under President [Jacob] Zuma, has failed to uphold the constitution, has failed the people of South Africa and those who were murdered and displaced in Darfur.”

DA MP James Selfe asked the government to stop referring to al-Bashir as “his excellency”.

“The only thing he is excellent at is killing people,” said Selfe.

He pointed out that al-Bashir stood accused of a leading role in the genocide of 300000 black Africans.

Several MPs acknowledged that the International Criminal Court is unfairly targeting African leaders.

The Economic Freedom Fighters’ Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu says the court’s prosecution selection process needs to be reviewed.

“We do not agree with the selective prosecution of the ICC for Africans, because it looks like it has only existed for Africans since its establishment.”

“Also it was naive for whoever took the government to court to think that it can be wise to arrest a head of state here in South Africa. It was going to lead to instability in the origin country where he came from, it was going to even threaten our security in South Africa, but also it was going to lead to the undermining of the statute of South Africa in the international context,” Shivambu added.

COPE leader Mosiuoa Lekota said what had been done in the name of South Africa was a serious crime.

The Freedom Front Plus says government has exposed the ANC as a party that does not respect human rights.

“Sir, forget about Fifa. The Al-Bashir crisis makes the Fifa version look like a Sunday school picnic,” Freedom Front Plus leader, Pieter Mulder said.

“No other executive act has ever exposed the ANC as a human rights violator on such a grand scale to the whole world. Ons gaan die prys betaal hiervoor vir baie jare nog.”