The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on “the International Criminal Court (ICC) to refer South Africa to the UN Security Council for allowing Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir to leave the country, ahead of a court ruling on whether he should be transferred to the ICC to stand trial on genocide and war crimes charges”.
The Executive Director of the organisation, Adetokunbo Mumuni, in a statement said: “If it is true that the government of South Africa has blatantly disregarded the process of its own court to free international fugitive from justice, then there should be consequences otherwise the authority and credibility of the ICC and the entire regime of international justice will be seriously undermined”.
Suspension Or Expulsion
According to SERAP, “the South African authorities told the court that President al-Bashir had gone shopping when they knew that he was already on his way back to Khartoum.
“This is a slap on the wrist, and clearly exposes the judiciary to ridicule and disrespect. It also shows that the government has absolutely no respect for the rule of law and the independence and integrity of the judiciary.
“As provided for by the Rome Statute of the ICC, the court should now request UN Security Council sanctions against South Africa. Under the Rome Statute, the UN Security Council may do what it deems appropriate. Without effective sanctions and repercussions states like South Africa are not likely to be held accountable for breaching their international obligations and commitments,” the organisation said.
It also asked the ICC to work with other states parties to the Rome Statute to consider the possibility of suspension or expulsion of South Africa from the Rome Statute.
The group stressed that the action would send a strong message to other members that their breach of the Rome Statute would have consequences.
“This can give the ICC enforcement mechanisms the much needed legitimacy and authority to effectively pursue international justice and secure remedies for victims,” the organisation further stressed.
Mr Al-Bashir left the African Union Summit for Khartoum, flying out of a military base in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria hours before the Pretoria High Court will rule on whether he should be handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC), who have charged him with war crimes and genocide.
The Sudanese leader was in Johannesburg for the 25th Assembly of Heads of State and government of the African Union.
On Sunday, the court ordered Mr Al-Bashir not to leave the country until the case had been heard.