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Sudan's al-Bashir's South Africa trip indicates death of ICC case: analysts

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Khartoum -- Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Saturday traveled to South Africa, where he will attend an African Union (AU) summit.

Observers believed that al-Bashir's visit indicates death of ICC case against the Sudanese leader, who has just begun a new term as president.

According to official SUNA news agency, al-Bashir arrived in Johannesburg on Saturday evening, leading a high-level delegation to participate in the AU's 25th summit, which is about to kick off on Sunday.

The trip was not expected only until recently as South Africa has reiterated commitment to implement an arrest warrant issued by International Criminal Court (ICC) against al-Bashir for allegedly war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region.

Earlier, the South African authorities repeatedly said that they would not hesitate to arrest al-Bashir in response to the ICC warrant should he set foot on its soil.

Analysts, however, regarded al-Bashir's visit to South Africa as an official declaration for the death of the ICC case.

"The issue of the ICC was dead long time ago. This visit is an official declaration for the death of the case. The African stance has a prominent role in defeating the ICC warrant against al-Bashir", Rabbie Abdul-Atti, a leading member of Sudan's ruling National Congress Party, told Xinhua.

"South Africa is considered a superpower country in Africa and this visit means South Africa is supporting the Sudanese stance and coordinating, at the highest levels, with Sudan," he noted.

Abdul-Rahim Al-Sunni, a Sudanese political analyst, believed al-Bashir's participation in the summit is important as the summit is convened in South Africa, a signatory of the ICC statute.

The leaders of the African nations at meeting are expected to speak up their rejections to the ICC, whose investigation they believe have focused on African head of states, he noted.

Since the issuance of the ICC warrant against him in March 2009, al-Bashir visited many countries, including African countries signatories to the ICC statute such as Kenya, Malawi and Nigeria.

Abdul-Khaliq Al-Wathiq, another Sudanese political analyst, meanwhile, did not expect that South Africa would arrest al-Bashir and hand him over to the ICC, despite efforts expected to be exerted by international activists to force Johannesburg to do so.

"It was apparent that the ties between Sudan and South Africa were progressing well, namely since the visit of President Jacob Zuma to Khartoum in February last year", Al-Wathiq told Xinhua.

"Despite South Africa's previous stance, I do not expect it to violate the African consensus which rejects dealing with the ICC warrant against al-Bashir, particularly that South Africa is hosting the African leaders who are scheduled to discuss the withdrawal from the ICC," he said.


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