Civil society organisations and activists from across Sri Lanka and the North-East expressed their “deep disappointment and outrage” at the failure of South African authorities to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir earlier this week, stating it raised “serious concerns” over their involvement in Sri Lanka’s accountability process.
Noting that Mr Bashir is wanted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, 60 organisations signed a statement saying Mr Bashir’s visit “visit to South Africa presented a real opportunity to bring an international fugitive to justice”.
“Given the involvement of the government of South Africa in the design of truth and reconciliation processes in Sri Lanka, we the undersigned wish to reiterate the centrality of the rule of law and victims’ right to justice in any efforts aimed at truth-seeking and reconciliation,” said the statement.
“We also note that the shameful circumstances surrounding President al-Bashir’s visit to, and departure from South Africa will inevitably raise serious concerns over the propriety of the South African government’s involvement in the pursuit of truth and reconciliation in Sri Lanka and elsewhere,” the organisations added.
The organisations continued to say “We also wish to underscore that states must fully comply with their obligations under international law to bring the authors and perpetrators of heinous crimes to justice."
See our earlier posts: South Africa allows suspected war criminal al-Bashir to leave, despite court order (15 Jun 2015)
Arrest war crimes accused Sudanese president - TAG (15 June 2015)
ICC urges South Africa to arrest Sudan's President Bashir (14 June 2015)