ICC unwelcome in Africa, says Mugabe

ICC unwelcome in Africa, says Mugabe

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 9:12 pm

Mugabe: blasts  ICC for bias against Africa

Mugabe: blasts ICC for bias against Africa

African Union chairman, President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday harshly criticized the International Criminal Court after Sudan’s president dodged an international arrest order by leaving early from a meeting of the continent’s leaders in South Africa, a news agency reported.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir arrived in Khartoum, Sudan, on Monday from South Africa, where a court instructed that he be arrested, but after his plane had left with him aboard. Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes allegations linked to the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region.

The African News Agency, which is based in South Africa, quoted Mugabe as saying at the late-night close of an African Union summit in Johannesburg that the International Criminal Court is not wanted in Africa.

“This is not the headquarters of the ICC; we don’t want it in this region at all,” said Mugabe, who is chairing the 54-member African Union for one year.

South Africa is a signatory to the statute that set up the international court. But some African leaders say the court has unfairly targeted African heads of state and the African Union said delegates to the summit in Johannesburg had immunity.

According to Mugabe, South African President Jacob Zuma said “he would not allow” police to arrest al-Bashir, the African News Agency reported.

Nick Kaufman, a lawyer representing several victims in the Darfur case at the ICC, called on the court’s prosecutor Tuesday to ask judges for a formal “finding of non-compliance” by South Africa for failing to arrest al-Bashir and to have the matter reported to the United Nations Security Council.

Meanwhile, a South African court has given the Zuma government to explain why it defied its order barring the Sudanese President from leaving the country.

The court gave the ultimatum on Monday and criticised the authorities’ action as inconsistent with the constitution.

The South African government said it would investigate the circumstances surrounding Bashir’s departure on his presidential jet that took off from a military base.

“We will also comply with the court order relating to submission of an affidavit outlining these circumstances,” the government said in a statement.

A constitutional law expert warned that South Africa’s decision to defy the court order on Bashir did not bode well for the country’s justice system.


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