SA government to appeal al-Bashir ruling at highest court

SA government to appeal al-Bashir ruling at highest court
Zuma and "wanted war criminal"‚ Omar Al-Bashir. Photo -

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s government will appeal at the constitutional court a ruling that the state made an error in letting Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir leave the country, the justice ministry said on Friday.

Bashir, who was in South Africa for an African Union summit last June, was allowed to go even though a court had issued an order banning him from leaving until the end of a hearing on whether he should be detained under a global arrest warrant.

The court said he should have been arrested to face genocide charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) because as an ICC signatory, Pretoria is obliged to implement arrest warrants.

The government says diplomatic immunity was granted to all delegates at the summit.

South Africa’s government lost an appeal against the ruling at the Supreme Court (SCA) in March. The Constitutional Court offers the state its last chance of overturning the ruling.

“Government has today filed for leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court against the judgment delivered by Supreme Court,” the justice ministry said in a statement.

“We believe that the legal uncertainties … can be properly pronounced on by the Constitutional Court. Government therefore believes that there is a reasonable possibility that the Court will arrive at a different conclusion.”

In the aftermath of the initial court ruling, the governing African National Congress (ANC) party said South Africa should withdraw from the ICC, which African states have accused of bias against the continent.

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