National News

Bashir will be arrested - Zuma

2010-05-27 22:55

Cape Town - Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir, sworn in for a new term on Thursday, will face arrest if he comes to next month's World Cup in South Africa, President Jacob Zuma said

"South Africa respects the international law and certainly we are signatories and we abide by the law," Zuma told lawmakers, when asked in Parliament if Bashir would be arrested under an international war crimes warrant.

In March 2009, Bashir became the first sitting leader to be indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the troubled Sudanese province of Darfur.

As a signatory to the conventions setting up the court, South Africa is legally bound to arrest him if Bashir comes to the country.

Bashir was sworn in to a new five-year term after April polls which were marred by accusations of fraud and logistical problems.

South Africa - which has still to announce which leaders will attend the 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 peace agreement, said Zuma.

South Africa has worked in Sudan by training and strengthening police services since the 2005 peace agreement to end a 21-year civil war.


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