Bashir: SA rights groups put JZ in spot

SOUTH African human rights organisations have launched a nationwide campaign to compel President Jacob Zuma and the South African government to distance themselves from the decision of the African Union not to comply with the International Criminal Court.

SOUTH African human rights organisations have launched a nationwide campaign to compel President Jacob Zuma and the South African government to distance themselves from the decision of the African Union not to comply with the International Criminal Court.

The court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir who was indicted for war crimes in Darfur in March.

But the Sudanese president has been sauntering through African states, with none of them prepared to arrest and transport him to the international court at The Hague.

The AU meeting held in Libya last Friday resolved not to cooperate with the war crimes warrant against al-Bashir and again appealed to the United Nations to delay the case.

So far, only Botswana has distanced itself from the AU decision.

Botswana Foreign Minister Phandu Skelemani saying:

"The government of Botswana does not agree with this meeting's decision and wishes to reaffirm its position that as a state party to the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court, it has treaty obligations to fully cooperate with the ICC in the arrest and transfer of the president of Sudan to the ICC."

Advocate Howard Varney of the Johannesburg Bar said the campaign intended to lobby retired archbishop Desmond Tutu.

"On Wednesday we will release a memorandum to be sent to the Presidency.

"We are calling for President Jacob Zuma and the South African government to stay true to our laws, the Constitution and the international treaty which we have signed.

"We are saying our government cannot pledge solidarity with powerful African states at the expense of victims of human rights abuses on the continent." - Sapa

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