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SALC thrilled with SCA's decision on al-Bashir debacle

The court dismissed government’s appeal in the matter of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Picture: AFP/Gianluigi Guercia.

PRETORIA - The Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) says it's thrilled with the Supreme Court of Appeal's (SCA) decision to dismiss government's appeal in the matter of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

#AlBashir SALC is "thrilled" with the SCA's findings. BB pic.twitter.com/RXq9MtPZZU

The SCA handed down its judgment in Bloemfontein today.

The court ruled that government's failure to arrest al-Bashir when he was in South Africa last year was unlawful.

#AlBashir SCA not taken by government conduct and explanations. BB pic.twitter.com/F8WK6i9ayK

He's wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes including genocide.

The centre says South Africa should seek to uphold the law instead of shielding suspected war criminals.

#AlBashir SA should be proud of commitment to rule of law and prosecuting war criminals. pic.twitter.com/u5D60TRjI3

The SALC's Angela Mudukti says the SCA has reaffirmed South Africa's duties to the ICC.

"We are quite happy with this outcome because I think an important principle has been upheld that South Africa has domestic and international duties in this regards, and their failure to adhere to it was an unlawful act."

Government says it's studying the judgment.

#AlBashir the ANC says it will await government's response to the SCA ruling before commenting on the matter. BB

The SCA described government's explanation for how al-Bashir left the country, seemingly unnoticeable, as disgraceful.

"The high court invited the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to consider criminal contempt charges so we will have to monitor developments from that side and see what they make of it."

The court found that either the government or its counsel attempted to mislead the high court as to the whereabouts of al-Bashir, saying either way it was disgraceful conduct.

#AlBashir SCA: either government misled the court, or its counsel did - either way, it's "disgraceful". BB pic.twitter.com/5dJdfN53ls

It further found that government erroneously relied on a proclamation to confer immunity on al-Bashir as a head of state.

The SALC has welcomed the decision.

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