The International Criminal Court is “dangerous” and South Africa should withdraw from it, the secretary general of the ruling African National Congress said on Monday, defending the government’s decision not to arrest indicted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
President Jacob Zuma’s government and the ANC have come under fire for allowing Bashir, who faces charges of genocide at the court, to slip out of South Africa through a military air base after attending an African Union summit last week.
“If I was in government, I would say give notice, get out of that, it was not what was envisioned.
It is a tool in the hands of the powerful to destroy the weak and it is a court that is focusing on Africa, Eastern Europe and Middle East,” General Gwede Mantashe said on Talk Radio 702.
“Have nothing to do with that, because it is dangerous.”
Government said it had granted legal immunity to Bashir, along with all delegates attending the AU summit.
The National Assembly was yesterday set to hear a debate requested by DA leader Mmusi Maimane on the departure of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir from the country last week following the African Union summit. The debate is titled: “The implications of the attendance and departure of President Omar Al-Bashir from the African Union Summit in South Africa”.
The SA Litigation Centre (SALC) went to court to enforce two warrants for Al-Bashir’s arrest, but he left the country while the matter was being heard. On Monday, the government “categorically denied” that it plotted his safe passage out of the country.
“Government has noted reports in the media claiming that security cluster ministers held a secret meeting to protect and give safe passage to the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. The report relies on nameless and faceless sources to make these allegations,” Government Communication Information Services (GCIS) said in a statement.
“Government categorically denies that there was a secret meeting held by the security cluster ministers including minister in the presidency and the director-general of the presidency in Cape Town.
It alleges that this meeting was to plot the safe passage of President al-Bashir during African Union Summit in Johannesburg last week.
“Government remains committed to finalise this matter through the court process.
“It is expected to provide the court with a report that explains how President al-Bashir left the country,” the GCIS statement said. – Reuters/News24.