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‘SA is still obliged to arrest al-Bashir’

Government’s asked the SCA to set aside the High Court’s ruling that it acted unconstitutionally.

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

CAPE TOWN - International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda says South Africa is still obliged to arrest and surrender Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, irrespective of the outcome of the case before the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

The government's asked the SCA to set aside the North Gauteng High Court's ruling that it acted unconstitutionally by not detaining al-Bashir when he attended the African Union summit in June.

The ICC's pre-trial chamber recently granted South Africa's request for an extension of its 5 October deadline to explain why it acted as it did.

It set a new deadline of 31 December for South Africa to inform it of any developments in the government's case before the SCA.

In a new development, prosecutor Bensouda says the ICC's case against the Sudanese president shouldn't be held up indefinitely by legal proceedings in South Africa.

In a submission to the pre-trial chamber, Bensouda seeks confirmation that South Africa has a continuing duty to arrest and surrender al-Bashir should he visit the country again.

Bensouda says the prosecution was given no hearing before the decision to extend South Africa's deadline to explain its actions to the ICC was extended.

She also wants the confidentiality lifted on documents before the court saying this will correct any misperceptions about South Africa's interaction with the ICC.