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Showing posts with label South Sfrica. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South Sfrica. Show all posts

ICC says South Africa broke rules by failing to arrest Bashir

~TheGuardian. Thursday, July 6, 2017

War crimes judges ruled Thursday that South Africa flouted its duties to the International Criminal Court in 2015 by failing to arrest visiting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, wanted on genocide charges.

The widely expected judgement slapped Pretoria for failing in its obligations and hindering the work of the world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal, of which it is a founding member.

“The chamber concludes that by not arresting Omar al-Bashir while he was on its territory… South Africa failed to comply with the court’s request for the arrest and surrender” of the Sudanese leader, said presiding judge Cuno Tarfusser..

This was “contrary” to the provisions of the court’s guiding Rome Statute and prevented it from seeking to prosecute Bashir on 10 charges of war crimes, including three of genocide in Sudan’s western Darfur region.

But the judges stopped short of referring the matter to the UN Security Council for further action, with Tarfusser saying “a referral would be of no consequence”.

Despite two international arrest warrants issued in 2009 and 2010, Bashir remains at large and in office as conflict continues to rage in Darfur.

In June 2015, he attended an African Union summit in Johannesburg, and despite earlier consultations between ICC and South African officials then flew out of the country again unhindered.

The UN Security Council asked the ICC in 2005 to probe the crimes in Darfur, where at least 300,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced since ethnic minorities took up arms against Bashir’s Arab-dominated government in 2003, according to UN figures.

No diplomatic immunity

Pretoria’s lawyers had argued at an April hearing at the ICC there “was no duty under international law on South Africa to arrest” Bashir, arguing there was “nothing at all” in the UN resolution to waive his diplomatic immunity.

But ICC prosecutor Julian Nicholls shot back that South Africa “had the ability to arrest and surrender him and it chose not to do so.”

In the end, the only reason Pretoria did not arrest him was that South Africa “disagreed with … the law as set out… so it did not comply,” he said.

Judges agreed in Thursday’s ruling that international obligations cannot “simply be put aside” if a country disagrees with them, and ruled that in this case Bashir did not enjoy immunity.

What discerning book thieves tell us about a country's reading culture

"The catalogue of the Johannesburg Public Library in South Africa contains a poignant entry – "Biko, Steve. Long 0verdue".
Book theft in South Africa has recently been under the spotlight. (Shutterstock)The entry refers to I Write What I Like, a volume of collected writings by Steve Biko, the Black Consciousness leader tortured to death in police custody in 1977. The library used to have six copies of the volume, but they have all been borrowed and never returned.
Pirates of the book world
Other public libraries in Gauteng, one of South Africa nine provinces and its economic hub, have similar stories to tell. Their copies of Biko have long been kidnapped.
Others writers too are routinely abducted by “bookaneers”. Two current favourites are the political philosophers, Frantz Fanon and Achille Mbembe. The University of South Africa library keeps Fanon’s major titles in what it calls a “high-risk archive”. Judging from library records, Mbembe’s works are often checked out but not returned.
Book theft in South Africa has recently been under the spotlight. Last month, Jacana publishers ran a “Hot Reads campaign” featuring their titles that are most frequently shoplifted from South African bookshops. The list is dominated by titles on African political history and biography, including Biko, with some self-help titles thrown in.
In some cases, the patterns of biblio-shoplifting are predictable. Bibles, religious and self-help books are stolen for resale. This theft reaches across all levels of society – from vagrants stealing newspapers for bedding to book-dealers lifting rare editions from libraries and bookstores.
Yet not all shoplifters pilfer to resell. Those purloining Biko, Fanon and Mbembe want to read them so badly that they will steal them.

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