Bashir South Africa visit saga rages on

The Sudan Embassy in Pretoria has said it was “too early” to tell if President Omar al-Bashir would be at the second summit of the forum on China-Africa cooperation in Johannesburg next month.

A Sudanese embassy official, Mr Saif Ahmed, said Khartoum was not concerned about the International Criminal Court (ICC) or its decision since it was not a signatory.

“The court has no authority on Sudan. While they are targeting to isolate the Sudanese president as the symbol of sovereignty to his nation, it is actually the ICC which is currently isolated within the continent and finds it difficult to convince Africans,” he said.

Mr Ahmed accused the ICC of claiming to be an international organisation while it was not.

“Africans need to expose and re-question the court which contradicts common African interest,” he said.

There was an uproar in June when the South African government ignored a court order to arrest the Sudanese leader when he visited the country to attend an AU summit.

The South African government defended its decision not to arrest President Bashir, saying he was a guest of the AU and enjoyed immunity accorded to visiting heads of state, similar to that extended by the UN.

Mr Ahmed said: “It is too early to state who will represent Sudan in the upcoming summit. As such, a decision is a presidential one,” he said.

ALSO READ: Bashir drops plan to attend UN general assembly

The embassy official bemoaned the negative coverage that preceded President Bashir’s attendance of the AU summit.

“We attribute it to misconception and preconceived ideas,” he said.

The Hague-based court gave South Africa more time to explain why it defied an order to arrest the Sudanese leader in October, extending the deadline until a Pretoria court finalises the case.

READ: ICC asks South Africa to explain failure to arrest Bashir
President Bashir is wanted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed against civilians in Sudan’s vast Darfur region, where the UN says about 300,000 people were killed and 2,5 million others forced to flee their homes.

The ICC has also ordered South Africa to promptly report any developments in the relevant judicial proceedings as they occur.

SOURCE: THE EAST AFRICAN