25 May, 2024


Sri Lankan Civil Society Condemns South Africa For Not Handing Over President Omar al-Bashir To ICC

Sri Lankan Civil Society activists have urged the South African authorities for not handing over President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan to International Criminal Court.

President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan

President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan

Issuing a statement 48 Civil Society activists and 12 organisations said; “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.”

We publish below the statement in full;

We, the undersigned groups and individuals in Sri Lanka, express our deep disappointment and outrage over the failure of the South African authorities to apprehend and detain President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan during his recent visit to South Africa for an African Union (AU) summit. This is in a context where President al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face trial on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Not only was President al-Bashir permitted to participate in a highly publicized conference, he was also permitted to leave South Africa in direct violation of an interim order issued on Sunday 14 June by a High Court in Pretoria. This direct violation of the court’s order rendered unenforceable the same court’s welcome ruling the following day that the failure of the authorities to arrest al-Bashir was unconstitutional, and that al-Bashir be arrested and detained pending surrender to the ICC. 

Pursuant to Security Council resolution 1593 (2005) which referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC Prosecutor, the ICC has issued two warrants for the arrest of President al-Bashir, one in 2009 for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and another in 2010 for genocide. President al-Bashir has continued to act with impunity despite these warrants. His visit to South Africa presented a real opportunity to bring an international fugitive to justice. As a state party to the Rome Statute of the ICC, South Africa was under a binding legal obligation to arrest President al-Bashir and surrender him to the ICC. Moreover, as the High Court in Pretoria affirmed, South Africa was also under a constitutional obligation – on account of its domestic incorporation of the Rome Statute – to enforce its provisions and arrest al-Bashir pending a formal request by the ICC to surrender him. The court dismissed the South African government’s claim that President al-Bashir was entitled to immunity in terms of domestic and international law.

The ruling by the High Court demonstrates the critical role national courts play in supporting the ICC and upholding the international rule of law.

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. 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. We stand in solidarity with victims and human rights defenders from Sudan, South Africa and throughout the globe who continue to struggle to bring to justice those accused of mass atrocities. 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.


Ameer Faaiz – Attorney-at-law
Asha – Women’s Rights Activist
B. Gowthaman – Attorney-at-law
Bhavani Fonseka – Attorney-at-law
Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe
Brito Fernando
Cayathri D
Chamila Thushari
Chulani Kodikara
Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
Dr. T. Balamurukan – Lecturer, Faculty of Medicine, University of Jaffna
Gajen Mahendra
Gehan Gunatilleke – Attorney-at-law
Gowry – Teacher and Women’s Rights Activist
Herman Kumara
Isabelle Lassée
Juwairia Mohideen
K.S. Ratnavale – Attorney-at-law
Kumaravadivel Guruparan – Attorney-at-law
Lakshan Dias – Attorney-at-law
Luwie Ganeshathasan – Attorney-at-law
Mahalaxumy Kurushanthan
Marisa de Silva
Mirak Raheem
Nimalka Fernando – Attorney-at-law
Niran Anketell – Attorney-at-law
Noylin – Women’s Rights Activist
P.N. Singham
Philip Dissanayake
R. Hemalatha – Women’s Action Network (WAN) Jaffna Desk
Rajany Chandrasegaram
Rev. Fr. Jeyabalan Croos
Rev. Fr. M. V. E. Ravichandran – Director, Jaffna Diocesan Catholic Youth Federation
Rev. Fr. Nandana Manatunga
Rev. Fr. Terrence Fernando – Archdiocese of Colombo
Rev. Sr. Deepa Fernando HF
Rosanna Flamer-Caldera
Ruki Fernando
S.C.C. Elankovan
Seethalaxmy – Treasurer, Widow’s Society, Jaffna
Selvanathan Tharshan – Social Activist
Sheila Richards
Shreen Abdul Saroor
Sudarshana Gunawardena – Attorney-at-law
Udaya Kalupathirana
Ushananthini Gnanapragasam
Vanie Simon
Vibulan Shamin – General Hospital, Jaffna


Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD)
Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA)
Dabindu Collective
Equal Ground
Human Rights Office, Kandy
INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre
Mannar Women’s Development Federation (MWDF)
National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO)
Right to Life Human Rights Centre (R2L)
Rights Now – Collective for Democracy
South Asian Centre for Legal Studies
Women’s Action Network (WAN)

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Latest comments

  • 5

    Good move! Exemplary!

    Sengodan. M

    • 8

      Sri Lanka Civil Society,

      “Sri Lankan Civil Society activists have condemned urged the South African authorities for not handing over President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan to International Criminal Court.”

      Sri Did not hand over Velupillai Prabararan to India Either.

      So We have Double Standards,

      Will they hand over Gotabayaa Rajapaksa? They are all still free.

      Sri Lankan Civil Society activists idiots why don’t you go after the Rapists who killed Vidya and a host of other Crimes.

      Charity begins at home.

      • 5

        Why was KP not handed over by SL to India despite earlier promises following the murder of Rajiv Gandhi former PM of India.

    • 10

      What else to be expected from this list of greedy, corrupt NGO kakkas?

      They will bloody well know that President Bashir was being hounded by the American neocon empire for standing up against their project of dividing Sudan to set up a puppet regime in the South for its oil wealth. Similar to why they were trying to get Mahinda Rajapakse for stopping their project in the North of Sri Lanka.

      Though they succeeded in dividing Sudan and “creating” an artificial South Sudan with a puppett regime, the place is non-functional and Bashir pretty much has the full control of the country.

      The NGO kakkas in Sri Lanka like Paikiyasothy and the other traitors who have signed this abomination will like precedents like Sudan for the successof their agenda for Sri Lanka, driven by corrupt American money.

      Dream on, robbers. They will never get Bashir and Sudan will reunite.
      So suck it!

      • 3

        The Dollarwallahs are howling at the moon again.

  • 4

    How come I dont see Wimal Weeraponsos ,grandpa Carlo Fonny and Vasedeva Uncles signatures in it

    • 3

      Peace Lover

      “How come I dont see Wimal Weeraponsos ,grandpa Carlo Fonny and Vasedeva Uncles signatures in it”

      Because they, even Wimal Modawansa, have more respect than the so-called Civil Society Shills.

      Did they write anything about the Israeli aggression or others. What were they doing when Vidya was gang raped and murdered here at home?

  • 1

    We have a busy high calibre group of people in this group. Did this group debated the pros and cons of this statement considering a chance that South Africa may be involved in Srilankan reconciliation efforts. In addition International politics is very much more complicated in a sense that we may trigger a hornet’s nest. South Africa holds a strong say in african matters and all super powers wants to be in good side of South africa let alone UN. I am wondering if Srilankan interests are better served by keeping all key players onside at this critical juncture without any disregard to all human rights issues around the world. Food for thought for this group.

  • 2

    Every time i see this Bashir guy , Mahinda R’s fate comes to my mind , Mahinda along with Bashir going to be international fugitives , MY3 led future government will have to put Mahinda and rest of the war criminals behind bars to avoid international sanctions against us .

  • 4

    “Currently a prosecution depends on one of two factors: its status before the International Criminal Court (ICC) or its status in domestic law. The ICC calls itself “an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes”. In all honesty I have no faith in the ICC bringing a conviction against Blair. The ICC has been accused of bias, and as being a tool of western imperialism, only punishing leaders from small states while ignoring crimes committed by richer and more powerful states. This sentiment has been expressed particularly by African leaders due to the disproportionate focus on their nations.”

    The INGO funded academics are working against Mahinda now take advantage of the Bashir issue. Here are some excerpts on the Bush Blair and Obama’s war crime. Will the westren funded INGO’s make shout about their patrons. They would never do so, as they are fostered to work against our war heroes. Where have they been when LTTE carried our War crimes.

    [T]heir deliberate killings by drones … very likely violate the prohibition of arbitrary deprivation of life and may constitute extrajudicial executions.

    “If we accept the argument made by the Obama administration and the Bush administration before it – that the United States is involved in an armed conflict with al-Qaida and associated forces wherever they are engaged – international humanitarian law is the lex specialis in Pakistan and Yemen. Yet, even with less rigorous limitations on the use of lethal force under international humanitarian law, there is mounting evidence that the Obama administration’s use of drones constitute violations of international law in the form of war crimes.”

    Our country is infested with those who work for the Western governments They are quite about the USA’s attack on Sudanese pharmaceutical company, which was an act of aggression and crime against humanity too. They close their eyes if the West committed war crimes or crimes against humanity for their personal benefits. They are well rewarded by their Western masters.

    • 2

      Chilcott has been writing his report for the last 6 years, and the word is that it will not see the light of ‘even in a redacted form’ for at least another year.

      Sri Lanka needs to learn from Chilcott.

      • 4


        “Sri Lanka needs to learn from Chilcott.”

        Most probably Chilcot learnt it from Sri Lankan presidential commissioners.

  • 4

    Where were these so-called Sri Lanka Civil Society when Israelis were killing Palestinians? Where were they when Muslims were killed in Aluthgama? Where were they when Bush was killing Iraqis?

    When it comes to prosecuting small time tyrants, our so-called “Sri Lanka Civil Society” is certainly brave?

    Anyway, who are these people? Looks like a bunch of jobless looking to make a name for themselves.

    Civil? – give me a break.

  • 2

    How can a country like South Africa which has supported a murderer like this guy be invited to assist us to bring peace to this country. President Sirisena and Ranil should immediately stop any influence of South Africa in the reconciliation process and bring another country to assit us. Kick the South Africans out.

  • 5

    The signatories no doubt belong to a common mindset. Some are stark ignorant, some are guided by vested interests and some desire to be guided by the West that is blatantly hypocritical. They are the stalwarts of ‘yahapalanaya’.

  • 4

    That’s great Sri Lankan civil society! Now I’m looking forward to your statement outlining how shameful it is that GWB has not had an arrest warrant against him yet. Since we are after all condemning breaches of human rights at an international level are we not?

  • 3

    Ammata Siri, Amarasiri ca;lls the Civil Society Activists IDIOTS…

    Oh !!!!! Amarasiri, you will be condemned to hell as heaven belongs to the CATHOLIC & CHRISTIAN CLERGY. ALL THE SUICIDE MARTYRS & GOD’S FIGHTER’S ARE IN HEAVEN. No Entry for you. U ARE BARRED.
    The lawyers in this group have a right to be in HELL for the fact, they are Lawyers.
    Certainly not that Pakaya Sothy Saravanamuththu, friend.ANYWAY WITH ALL HIS $$$ HE WILL BE ABLE TO BRIBE HIS WAY INTO HEAVEN.


    Will Nimalka share her spoils with Vasu ??/
    Apparently these C;lergy whose names appear do not follow that BIBLE where this sentence appear.

  • 3

    Sri Lanka Civil Society / Banky Moon & UN / catholic & Christian Church & Clergy /INGOs……. WHERE YOU THERE ????????????

    PERHAPS THE IRAQ WAR…… “The disgusting abuse of power a moral quagmire that never ends. America is attacked by terrorists and so, declares war on a country that had nothing whatsoever to do with the attacks, while ignoring an oil rich ally which had everything to do with them (saudi arabia). WHERE WERE YOU Sri Lanka Civil Society??????? “

    Decent people & CLERGY are forced to lie on an international stage” EITHER FOR MONEY OR PRESTIGE.The Clergy forgets their MASTER Temporarily.
    “Thousands of Allied Troops and hundreds of thousands of blameless Iraqis are killed, although plenty of companies and individuals benefit from the US dollars that were shipped out, literally, by the ton. More recently, Iraq, now in a far worse state than it ever was under any dictator” “yet, did THE ICC really bring thy to hold anyone accountable” ??????????????????????????????????????????

  • 1

    I wish this committee would contribute something to unite the masses of Sri Lanka who are currently standing divided mainly due to extremist Sinhala Buddhist monks. There is not much we know of Sudan but the man Omar Bashir is
    a popular guy among the Sudanese and is working to keep a united singular Sudan.
    Meanwhile, will this committee also look into our own track record on human rights violations by the the government, the police and the forces ? What about
    our former strongman MR and his brother GR ? Currently they are not on the ICC wanted list, if and when it happens, will this committee take the responsibility to hand over them to the ICC ?

    Why do we need a third party to mediate in our reconciliation ? Cant this committee bring the parties together ?
    What is the reason for this rift ?
    Is too much Sinhala the cause of this rift ?
    Reconciliation will work only when the majority is united and this is not going to happen in my life time. Sinhalese are fighting the Sinhalese and gradually the nation will be destroyed and divided due to this and for the Sinhalese it will be too late and perhaps they may go back to their origins
    from where Prince Vijaya.

  • 0

    The Tamil groups want South African govt: to be involved in their reconciliation, this incident clearly shows what a corrupt and the low governance South Africa practice, this is a lawless country, which a murder every 10 minutes, rape, kidnap, house break ins are feature of that country’s daily living, corruption from the president down is uncontrollable, historically, apart from late Nelson Mandela every black president is corrupt to the core. This is the exemplary role that the tamils want to implement.

  • 0

    Much to the dissappointment of many I would like to strike a different note to this episode. If a Head of State visits another country on the invitation of the host, then the host is obliged to protect from all kinds issues ans make his stay comfortable. Clearly the South African President Jacob Zuma was in a difficult position when the judiciary of his own country orders a clamp on the exit of the not so worthy President of Sudan. Whatever be the respect for the rule of law, what do you expect Jacob Zuma or any other President of South Africa to do in a situation of this kind particularly when South Africa invited him to particiapte in the conference?

    IN THE FIRST PLACE SOUTH AFRICA SHOULD NOT HAVE INVITED HIM. If it is mandatory for South Africa to invite every Head of State for the conference, knowing the trend in South Africa and knowing the record of Omar Bashir then south Africa should not have hosted the conference at all.

    What amazes me is that why a so called elite group in Sri Lanka, now get excited over what happened in South Africa? Is it in the name of Civilization? Where were these elitists when the White South Africans used to ride on the back of the black South Africans? When the Bothas and other blunt human rights violators took the lives of many blacks, not so much published, where were our local friends? Did any of our local elite at least send a well wishing card to Nelson Mandela while he was languishing in the Roeben Island prison? Nelson Mandela and his team became “acceptable” to our locals AFTER he became President of South Africa. When the Western elitists sang hosannas praising the virtues of late Nelson Mandela our locals followed the suit. When the West condemns Robert Mugabe so do our locals!

    We as Sri Lankans must look at ourselves. What should be our values? What should we strive for? The so called Civil Societies must positiviely contribute and coax the population towards it. But what happens? We hear that even within so called civil societies there is a lack of transparency and incidents pointing to a very high degree of corruption.

  • 0

    This is the country that Tamils are seeking to assist in implementing the peace process. This country (South Africa) is lawless, corrupted from the president down. It has the world highest daily murder, rape, thieving incidents. This country is so unfair in dealing with social, maternal issues has the highest deaths at birth, pregnancies and malnutrition, put forward a woman called Navi Pulle a tamil to deal with issues of Sri Lanka, shows how blind idiots in this country are. They would invite a leader knowingly ICC has an arrest warrant, helps him to escape, gives him a free passage out of the country.

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