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article imageSouth African Civil Society Demands Gov’t Agree To Arrest Bashir

By Christopher Szabo     Jul 16, 2009 in Crime
South African civil society organisations have called on the government to comply with an international arrest warrant issued for Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al Bashir for alleged human rights violations in Sudan’s Darfur province.
The Citizen quoted a statement by the groups signed by, among others, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Justice Richard Goldstone in which they referred to the recent rejection by the African Union of an International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant for Bashir’s arrest. The statement said:
The decision by the African Union represents the most serious challenge to the struggle against impunity and lawlessness on the African continent.
The statement expressed disappointment in South Africa’s new leadership’s attitude towards the issue:
Neither the President nor the Foreign Minister is reported to have raised any objections to the decision.
Karthy Govender, commissioner of the South African Human Rights Commission added:
The statement is intended to convey to the government the extent of opposition from civil society organisations for South Africa’s decision not to comply with its national and international legal obligations. This decision impacts profoundly on the rule of law, both locally and internationally.
Meanwhile the official opposition Democratic Alliance has called on International Relations and Co-Operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to take the line of Botswana and Uganda in the matter. Uganda said this week that if Bashir went to Uganda he would be arrested.
The former Commissioner on the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, Dumisa Ntsebeza, former education minister Kader Asmal, the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, the Centre for Human Rights and the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention signed the petition.
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