PRETORIA MAY APPEAL COURT RULING ON SUDANESE PRESIDENT TO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT

PRETORIA, March 16 -- The South African government says it may take the Supreme Court of Appeal's ruling on Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir to the Constitutional Court.

It was reacting to the Appeal Court's dismissal of its appeal against the High Court in Pretoria which ruled that President al-Bashir should have been arrested when he attended the African Union (AU) Summit in Johannesburg in June last year.

The Appeal Court ruled that the government had acted unlawfully by allowing al-Bashir to leave the country in concurrence with an earlier High Court ruling that South Africa, as a signatory to the Rome Statute, was obliged to arrest him and hand him over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.

The Spokesperson for the Department of Justice, Mthunzi Mhaga, said here Tuesday that the government would be reviewing the Appeal Court's judgment to decide on a way forward.

"We believed that the Immunities Act had covered al-Bashir against any arrest as a sitting foreign head of state who was visiting the country, not as a guest of the South African government but as a delegate to the African Union (AU) Summit," he said.

"It would have been unprecedented for us to effect that warrant of arrest, but obviously the judge has differed with us.

"We have not had the opportunity to study the judgment yet. We will be reflecting on all the issues that were raised and make a determination whether or not to we take the matter to the Constitutional Court."

Source: SABC

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