Maimane lays criminal charges against govt departments over Al-Bashir saga

Maimane claims they aided the Sudanese president escape from South Africa to avoid him being handed to the International Crime Court (ICC).

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane lays criminal charges against President Jacob Zuma at Johannesburg's Rosebank Police Station. Picture: Twitter/@Our_DA.

CAPE TOWN – Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane has now laid criminal charges against a host of government department’s over the Omar al-Bashir saga.

He claims they aided the Sudanese president escape from South Africa to avoid him being handed to the International Crime Court (ICC).

Maimane laid the charges at the Cape Town Central Police Station on Friday.

Al-Bashir is wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity. He was allowed to leave South Africa in June 2015, despite a court order blocking his departure.

Maimane has slammed the South African government for allowing al-Bashir to leave the country.

He has, therefore, laid criminal charges against cabinet members, the South African Police Service, the Hawks, the National Prosecuting Authority and senior government officials.

Maimane’s spokesperson Mabine Seabe says the charges are aimed at establishing whether there was criminal intention in letting al-Bashir go.

“The ANC government no longer respects the laws of South Africa, therefore, the Democratic Alliance as a party we must take action so that those involved can be held liable.”

The DA says those who were complicit in the escape of al-Bashir ought to face legal consequences.

GOVT’S DECISION WAS INVALID

Earlier this week, the High Court in Pretoria ruled that the executive does not have and has never had the power to terminate existing international agreements.

The court ruled that government’s decision to give notice to withdraw from the ICC was unconstitutional and invalid.

It further ordered government to revoke the notice.

The DA lodged the application on the basis that parliament was not consulted prior to the notice being issued.

Judge Phineas Mojapela referred to South Africa’s Constitutional scheme, which confers the power to draft legislation on parliament.

He said the executive’s decision to terminate membership of the international criminal court would result in the termination of existing rights and obligations.

Mojapela said this amounts to a breach of the separation of powers because the executive would have exercised legislative powers.

The court also found that the unexplained haste with which the notice was lodged in itself constitutes procedural irrationality.

The judge has ordered President Jacob Zuma and other members of his cabinet to revoke the notice of withdrawal.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)