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al-Bashir: “We need more time” - Dept

al-Bashir: “We need more time” - Dept

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation has reportedly asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) for more time in dealing with the controversy surrounding Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

In a statement released last month, the ICC announced it given South Africa until October 5th to explain why al-Bashir, who is wanted in connection with genocide charges in the war-torn Darfur region, was allowed to leave the African Union Summit in Sandton on June 15th, and why the hasten departure was state assisted.

Speaking to The Citizen, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said the complexity of the matter had resulted in government asking for additional time to present its case to the ICC.

She also added that government would discuss the rules and procedures concerning countries not part of the ICC, when the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the Rome Statute meets next month.

“South Africa was unfortunately not afforded the opportunity to present legal arguments on this application, and hence it is of the view that the principles of justice were not adhered to,” she said, adding that al-Bashir’s visit turned from a diplomatic consultation, into a judicial process when a court order, preventing his departure, was filled in the North Gauteng High Court a day before.

“In view of the above, South Africa is of the view that a serious infringement of South Africa’s rights as a State Party (to the Rome Statute) has taken place and the Court has acted against the letter and spirit of the Rome Statute”.