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Court reaffirms its stance on al-Bashir

A court says if government raised diplomatic concerns over arresting al-Bashir the ruling wouldn’t change.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The High Court in Pretoria has ruled that even if government raised diplomatic concerns over the arrest of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir it wouldn't have changed the ruling.

Just hours after leaving, the court ruled that South Africa was compelled to arrest the wanted Sudanese president and hand him over to the ICC, where he faces several charges, including genocide.

Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo delivered the reasons for the ruling he handed down last week, ordering the arrest of the president on an International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant.

The ICC wants al-Bashir arrested on charges including war crimes and genocide.

Mlambo says government did not raise any diplomatic concerns in court.

"Neither in the answering affidavits nor during arguments was any question of necessity raised, namely that the government of South Africa was justified in disobeying the order in order to preserve international relations."

Mlambo referred to the separation of powers to explain why that argument would have had no impact.

"It's clear that this court wouldn't have concerned itself with policy decisions which in their nature fall outside our ambit. As a court we are concerned about the integrity of the rule of law and the administrations of justice."

SA'S IMAGE TARNISHED BY RECENT NEWS HEADLINES

Meanwhile, a survey has found that South Africa's image overseas has suffered substantially due to a number of major news stories with sport being the country's only positive media export.

Media Tenor conducted a 20 day analysis of overseas news outlets this month looking at the major stories emanating from this country.

It says the stories on al-Bashir and the xenophobic attacks have made world headlines substantially damaging the country's image.

The research included 1,000 reports from 15 TV shows.

This involved major broadcasters in countries including the US, Britain, Italy, France, Germany and China.

The hasty exit by Sudan's president, contrary to a court order, achieved the most South African coverage overseas, with the Fifa scandal and corruption also making news headlines.

Prior to the al-Bashir scandal and xenophobia, the Oscar Pistorius murder trial also made news headlines worldwide, adding to negative publicity.

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