‘SA’s image isn’t dented by al-Bashir debacle’

The Sudanese leader slipped out of the country in June in violation of a High Court order.

FILE: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa's international standing has not suffered because of the Omar al-Bashir debacle.

The Sudanese leader, who was in South Africa for an African Union summit in June, slipped out of the country in violation of a High Court order.

Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes.

Ramaphosa says South Africa's international standing has not been dented by the debacle.

"Our president and South Africa is really so popular; it is the darling of the countries of the world. Whenever President [Jacob] Zuma travels, they want to meet him."

On Monday, South Africa was asked by judges at the ICC to explain why it failed to al-Bashir when he attended the summit.

The ICC insisted that as a founder member, South Africa was obliged to enforce its warrant for al-Bashir, who is wanted for war crimes in Darfur.

South African authorities helped President al-Bashir, who's accused of masterminding genocide in Darfur, get out of the country when a Pretoria court ordered that he be prevented from leaving.

The ICC gave South African authorities a month to explain how and why this happened.

It pointed out that the matter can be referred to the ICC Assembly of States Parties or the United Nations Security Council that can impose sanctions.