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DA: Govt defending the indefensible on al-Bashir ruling

Govt announced yesterday that it would seek leave to appeal the SCA’s ruling last month.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Picture: AFP.

PRETORIA - While government says it intends appealing the matter involving Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for clarity on important

legal questions, the Democratic Alliance (DA) says it is simply attempting to

defend the indefensible.

Government announced yesterday that it would seek to appeal

the Supreme Court of Appeal's (SCA) ruling last month that the failure to

arrest al-Bashir was unlawful and inconsistent with the country's obligation to

the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Sudanese president was in South Africa in June to attend

the African Union Summit being held in Johannesburg. He slipped out of the country

in contravention of a court order.

Al-Bashir is wanted by the ICC on charges including genocide

and crimes against humanity.

Government's Mthunzi Mhaga says the Constitutional Court will

be asked to settle legal questions it believes were not addressed by the SCA Act.

"We believe that the

interpretation of both the customary national law and the domestic law in so

far as they relate to immunity granted to foreign heads of states needs a

pronouncement by the Constitutional Court."

The DA accused government of wasting taxpayers' money, which

should be better spent elsewhere.

The SCA found that the country's obligation to the ICC trumped

diplomatic immunity, even if the person was a sitting head of state.

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