Maimane lays charges for ‘government-aided al-Bashir escape’

Mmusi Maimane. Picture: Deon Raath
Mmusi Maimane. Picture: Deon Raath

He was an international criminal wanted for prosecution by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes. But on a visit to South African shores in 2015, the South African government, who at the time fell under the Rome Statute, failed to arrest and hand over Sudan president Omar al-Bashir to the court for prosecuting.

Today Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane formally laid charges against several members of Cabinet, the South African Police Services, Hawks, the National Prosecuting Authority and senior government officials for their “unconstitutional actions in allowing warlord, Omar al-Bashir, to flee the country.”

The charges, which were laid at the Cape Town Central Police Station, were done so “for contravening both the Rome Statute, as well as a high court order in aiding and abetting the prohibited escape of warlord Omar Al Bashir from South Africa in June of 2015,” according to Maimane.

“In light of this week’s ruling confirming that the government’s notice of intention to withdraw from the International Criminal Court was unconstitutional, irrational and procedurally flawed, the DA believes that those complicit in the escape of al-Bashir – in contravention of a court order and international law – ought to face the legal consequences,” Maimane said outside the police station today.

Bashir was allowed to flee the country from the Waterkloof Air Base on June 15 2015 and the DA is calling for the focus of the investigation to include the ministers of Justice, International Relations and Cooperation, and Home Affairs; heads of SAPS, Hawks and NPA, as well as a “string of director-generals in the relevant departments”.

“This is a government that claims in word to protect human rights, when in deed it only protects human rights abusers. From Castro, to Mugabe, to al-Bashir, anyone who is a friend of oppression and authoritarian rule is a friend of the ANC,” Maimane said.

Avantika Seeth
Multimedia journalist
City Press
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