The last place where you would expect to read about the ICC would be in relation to football. However, according to news reports,
South Africa invited Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir to the World Cup along with the rest of Africa’s leadership, but would arrest him should he take up the invitation, President Jacob Zuma said.
Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes. He rejected the charges of having ordered mass murder, rape and torture in western Darfur.
Zuma said in response to a question in Parliament that the country had a responsibility to arrest him should he accept the invitation and attend the June 11 opening ceremony.
“South Africa respects the international law and… we abide by the law,” he said.
Last week, a debate was sparked in some countries (Kenya for example) on attending his swearing-in ceremony (The US did send a junior diplomat, but claim it doesn’t mean anything). After last year’s AU declaration calling for not cooperating with the Court, these recent event show the actual ambiguity of African leadership towards the warrant. I wonder how long this will last. Not that I believe that all foreign policy should always be consistent, but inviting someone while telling him he’ll be arrested if he accepts is pushing diplomatic schizophrenia a little far…