afrol News, 28 May - South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has explained that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir would be arrested and handed over to the ICC should he set foot in South Africa, even if it is only to participate in the FIFA World Cup.
The South African government would not act outside the framework of international laws which South Africa had ratified, should Sudanese President al-Bashir set foot in the country said President Zuma, according to the Pretoria government.
Responding to questions in the National Assembly yesterday, Mr Zuma was asked whether al-Bashir would be arrested if he set foot in South Africa for the FIFA World Cup, where many African state leaders are expected. President Zuma was clear that South Africa respects the international law.
As a signatory to the conventions setting up the International Criminal Court (ICC), South Africa is legally bound to arrest him if the Sudanese leader comes to the country.
al-Bashir, who was sworn in for a new term of office on Thursday, is the first sitting leader to be indicted by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the troubled Sudanese province of Darfur. He is set to serve another five years in office after the April polls, which were marred by accusations of fraud and logistical problems.
A large number of African heads of state are expected to visit South Africa as the first soccer world cup ever is organised on African soil. Most of these leaders themselves have rejected the option of detaining President al-Bashir, should he visit their country, and the Sudanese leader has been abroad several times after the ICC indictment.
South Africa - which is still to announce which leaders will attend the FIFA World Cup - assisted Sudan's national elections commission and sent an observer team under the African Union (AU).
"These elections, notwithstanding challenges, are viewed as a positive step towards the democratic transition of Sudan as envisaged in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)," said President Zuma.
He said a critical lesson from international involvement in conflict resolution, including South Africa's role in the peace process, is the need to foster and maintain a common and united international approach regarding the implementation of agreements.
"It is also clear that no solutions are possible or sustainable without the active involvement of all parties to the conflict," said President Zuma, adding that it was important to emphasise inclusively and consensus-seeking, and to discourage any forms of unilateral action.
He said South Africa would continue to provide support to the AU High Level Implementation Panel on Darfur and also render assistance to the UN and other interested parties towards the peaceful resolution of the Darfur conflict.
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