Sudan leader faces arrest if he visits Cup: Zuma

2010-05-28 08:38

Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir, sworn in for a new term today, will

face arrest if he comes to next month’s World Cup in South Africa, President

Jacob Zuma said.


“South Africa respects the international law and certainly we are

signatories and we abide by the law,” Zuma told lawmakers, when asked in

Parliament if Bashir would be arrested under an international war crimes

warrant.


In March last year, Bashir became the first sitting leader to be

indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against

humanity in the troubled Sudanese province of Darfur.


As a signatory to the conventions setting up the court, South

Africa is legally bound to arrest Bashir if he comes to the country.


Bashir was sworn in to a new five-year term after April 11-15

national elections which were marred by accusations of fraud and logistical

problems.


South Africa – which has still to announce which leaders will

attend the June 11 to July 11 World Cup – assisted Sudan’s national elections

commission and sent an observer team under the African Union.


“These elections, notwithstanding challenges, are viewed as a

positive step towards the democratic transition of Sudan as envisaged” in the

peace agreement, said Zuma.


South Africa has worked in Sudan by training and strengthening

police services since the 2005 peace agreement to end a 21-year civil war.

 

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