Sudan's Bashir urges ICC African members to quit 'colonial' court

2016-10-22 16:04
Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir. (AFP, File pictures)

Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir. (AFP, File pictures)

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Khartoum - Sudan urged African members of the International Criminal Court on Friday to follow South Africa in withdrawing from the ICC, insisting it was a "new colonial tool" targeting only African leaders.

South Africa announced earlier it would withdraw from The Hague-based ICC after a dispute last year when Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visited the country despite an ICC arrest warrant over alleged war crimes in Darfur.

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Authorities in South Africa refused to arrest him, saying that as a head of state he had immunity.

South Africa would be the first country to leave the court formally.

- Read more: SA starts process to withdraw from ICC

Welcoming South Africa's decision, which came weeks after Burundi said it would leave the court, Bashir's office urged other African member nations to withdraw as well.

"The presidency of the republic... calls on African leaders and the people of Africa who are still members of the ICC to take a collective step in withdrawing from the ICC," a presidency statement said.

New colonial tool 

It said such a withdrawal would amount to implementing a decision taken at a recent African Union meeting at Kigali that described the ICC as a "new colonial tool that targeted the African continent and its leaders".

A senior Bashir aide told AFP that more African countries were expected to follow South Africa and Burundi as part of African "solidarity" with Sudan and its president.

"All the cases raised by the ICC target African countries. It never targets a European state or Israel despite the crimes they commit," Ibrahim Mahmoud said.

"We expect that more African countries will quit the ICC."

- Read more: ICC laws inconsistent with ours - SA government

Of the 10 ICC probes since 2002 when the court was established, nine have been into African countries and one into Georgia, although most ICC cases have been referred to the court by African governments themselves.

As an ICC signatory, South Africa's failure to arrest Bashir last year led to a wave of condemnation.

The Sudanese leader has evaded arrest since his ICC indictment in 2009.

At least 300 000 people have been killed in Darfur since the conflict erupted there in 2003, the United Nations says.

Read more on:    international criminal court  |  omar al-bashir  |  sudan  |  sa burundi  |  east africa  |  africa

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