ANC STATEMENT ON HIGH COURT ORDER ON PRESIDENT AL-BASHIR –
The African National Congress (ANC) has noted the interim order granted by the High Court in Pretoria preventing the President of Sudan, His Excellency Omar al-Bashir from leaving South Africa pending the hearing of an urgent application brought by the Southern African Litigation Centre to compel South African authorities to arrest him on the strength of two warrants of arrest from the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur. President al-Bashir is in South Africa to attend the African Union (AU) Summit underway at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg.
Government gazetted the meeting of the AU for Immunity for all participants as part of the international norms for countries hosting such gathering of the AU or even the United Nations.The ANC welcomes the government’s compliance with this requirement and further notes that this Gazette which provided immunity for all persons attending the AU Summit was not contested by any party. It is on this basis, amongst others, that the ANC calls upon government to challenge the order now being brought to compel the South African government to detain President al-Bashir.
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress holds a view that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is no longer useful for the purposes for which it was intended – being a court of last resort for the prosecution of crimes against humanity. The fact that compliance with the prescripts of the International Criminal Court is voluntary and countries can choose whether to be a signatory or not, means that gross human violations committed by non-signatory countries go unpunished.
Countries, mainly in Africa and Eastern Europe, who due to their unwavering commitment to upholding human rights and universal justice, have elected to be signatories to the ICC continue to unjustifiably bear the brunt of the decisions of the ICC with Sudan being the latest example. The African National Congress calls for a review of the statutes of the ICC to compel all member states of the United Nations to be signatories to the Rome Statute to ensure that the ICC is able to act in accordance with the function for which it was intended – a fair and independent court for universal and equitable justice.
The matter before the High Court in Pretoria relating to the President of Sudan has once again brought to the fore the fundamental flaws of the workings of the ICC and the urgent need for the amendment of the Rome Statute to ensure that justice knows no geographic boundaries or geo-political dynamics.
Issued by the African National Congress