Zimbabwean President and Chairman of African Union (AU), Robert Mugabe has sensationally lashed out at the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the failed bid to arrest Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir during the just concluded pan African leadership summit in South Africa.

Al-Bashir escaped the planned arrest order by leaving early from a meeting of the continent’s leaders in South Africa.

The embattled al-Bashir, who is being hunted by ICC over alleged war crimes linked to the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region arrived Khartoum on Monday from South Africa, where a court instructed that he be arrested shortly after his plane took off.

Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir

Though, James Stewart, deputy prosecutor of the ICC claimed South Africa had been legally obligated to detain al-Bashir for trial in the Hague, Mugabe was quoted by the African News Agency as saying at the closing ceremony in Johannesburg that the International Criminal Court is not wanted in Africa. “This is not the headquarters of the ICC; we don’t want it in this region at all,” said Mugabe, who will be chairing the 54-member African Union in the next one year. “There is a view that we should withdraw from the ICC . Unfortunately, the treaty that set up the court was not signed by the AU, but by individual countries.”

South Africa is a signatory to the statute that set up the international court. But some African leaders say the court has unfairly targeted African heads of state and the African Union said delegates to the summit in Johannesburg had immunity.

According to Mugabe, South African President Jacob Zuma said “he would not allow” the police to arrest al-Bashir while Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the AU Chairman insisted the Sudanese leader was a regular presence at AU summits “anywhere in the continent.”

By Olisemeka Obeche (with Agency reports)


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