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Bashir will be arrested if he sets foot in South Africa

Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir, sought by a top international court for war crimes in Darfur will be arrested if he sets foot in South Africa, a top official said.

world Updated: Aug 01, 2009 16:06 IST

Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir, sought by a top international court for war crimes in Darfur will be arrested if he sets foot in South Africa, a top official said on Saturday.

"If today, President Al-Bashir landed in terms of the provision [of the Rome Statute], he would have to be arrested," said Ayanda Ntsaluba, a senior Foreign Affairs official of South Africa. The country is a signatory to the Rome Statute, which governs the International Criminal Court.

Al-Bashir is being sought by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes. The ICC has issued an arrest warrant against the Bashir on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Sudan's Western region of Darfur.

Ntsaluba, Director General for International Relations and Co-Operation, issued a clarification on Saturday on South Africa's position regarding the ICC arrest warrant after more than 130 civil society and human rights groups across Africa called on African governments that are signatories to reaffirm their commitment and obligation to the ICC.

"The ICC has issued an arrest warrant for President Al-Bashir and this requires signatory states to execute the warrant should he land on their soil. We are a member of the ICC, we have got certain obligations, not only that, our Parliament passed a law and that law is extremely explicit about what would happen if a situation like that happens," Ntsaluba said.