South Africa studying court ruling on Bashir: Foreign Minister

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 16, 2015 7:05 AM

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's government is studying a court's rejection of its bid to appeal a ruling that authorities erred in letting Sudan's wanted leader leave the country despite a court order barring him from doing so, South Africa's foreign minister said.

A South African court on Wednesday threw out the appeal bid on grounds Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir did not have diplomatic immunity against a global arrest warrant issued against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Al-Bashir, who was in South Africa for an African Union (AU) summit in June, was allowed to depart for Khartoum even though a Pretoria court had issued an order banning him from leaving.

Bashir is wanted by the ICC for alleged war crimes related to the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan.

South African President Jacob Zuma last month defended the government's failure to detain Bashir, saying that he had immunity as a guest of the AU.

Speaking in Washington after meetings with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said: "The government is busy studying the outcome and we definitely would take the matter up at the appropriate time."

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The opposition Democratic Alliance party, which sponsored a failed motion in parliament to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the president for possible impeachment over his role in the saga, welcomed the court's ruling against the appeal.

The ICC has since asked Zuma's government to explain its decision to ignore the arrest warrant before October 5.

(Reporting by TJ Strydom. Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton in Washington; Editing by James Macharia and Andrew Hay)