Nzimande: Al-Bashir court challenge was attempt to embarrass govt

2015-06-18 14:03
Bonginkosi "Blade" Nzimande. (GCIS)

Bonginkosi "Blade" Nzimande. (GCIS)

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Johannesburg - Those who challenged South Africa to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir upon his arrival in the country for the African Union summit were trying to embarrass the government, SA Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande said on Thursday.

"Can you imagine if we had arrested President Al-Bashir coming to an AU meeting [where the position was taken] that no present heads of state must be sent or... handed over to the International Criminal Court?," he asked News24.

"In any case, we are of the view as the SACP that that challenge was aimed at embarrassing the government."

Al-Bashir arrived in South Africa on Saturday to attend an AU summit in Sandton.

He flew out of the country on Monday before the High Court in Pretoria ruled that he should be arrested on the warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

This was despite an earlier ruling blocking him from leaving.

Protocols

He has two warrants of arrest against him issued by the ICC, in 2009 and 2010 respectively. He faces seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and three counts of genocide.

Nzimande said despite the SACP's position on the arrest of Al-Bashir, it was not blind to his wrongdoings and was very critical of the Sudanese president, but there were protocols to be followed.

"The bigger problem is that there are protocols of these multi-lateral, political institutions, like the United Nations and the African Union.

"The fact of the matter is he was invited by the AU. In the same way for instance President [Robert] Mugabe was stopped from travelling to lots of places but he could still travel to the UN. He could not be stopped because the protocols of the UN are given precedence and we say the AU can't be less than that," Nzimande said.

Read more on:    sacp  |  au  |  icc  |  blade nzimande  |  omar al-bashir  |  johannesburg

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