South Africa’s Failure to Arrest President Bashir Condemned

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Jacob Zuma, president, South Africa

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PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma of South Africa is in the eye of a storm. South Africa’s failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity has been condemned by the Freedom House.

“The South African government’s decision to allow President Bashir to attend the African Union Summit demonstrates the government’s unwillingness to adhere to international human rights standards,” said Vukasin Petrovic, director of Africa programs. “By disregarding a court order secured by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre not to permit President Bashir to leave the country, the government ignored its international obligations and facilitated impunity of African leaders who commit crimes against humanity.”

The International Criminal Court has charged President Bashir with genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. As a signatory of the Rome Statute, South Africa is obligated to arrest anyone wanted by the International Criminal Court who enters the country.  In 2010 the African Union passed a resolution noting the refusal of member states to cooperate with the ICC and arrest President Bashir. South Africa’s High Court issued an order for Bashir’s arrest; however, the government confirmed he already left the country.

South Africa is rated Free in Freedom in the World 2015, Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2015, and Free in Freedom on the Net 2014.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

— June 15, 2015 @ 9.00 GMT

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