Sudanese President Omar al-Bashirs name was not on the list of passengers who left the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria shortly before noon on June 15, government said in court papers. File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko

Gaborone - The government of Botswana has condemned the failure of the South African government to arrest Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir while he was in Johannesburg for the AU Summit.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the office of President Ian Khama called on all countries that were signatories to the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC) to play their part.

“We therefore find it disappointing that president Al-Bashir avoided arrest when he cut short his visit and fled, in fear of arrest, to his country.

“We call on countries that are State Party to the Rome Statute of the ICC to co-operate with the ICC in ensuring that President Al-Bashir is made to account for the atrocities committed in Darfur and to support the international community’s efforts to provide justice for the victims. The African Union should lead by example in this regard,” read the statement from Khama’s office.

The government, however, commended the Johannesburg High Court for ordering the incarceration of Bashir and called it “a positive development that will send a clear message to others that the days of impunity are numbered”.

Khama did not attend the summit, but sent his vice-president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, and minister of foreign affairs, Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi. Khama has never attended any AU Summit since he assumed the presidency in 2008, taking over from Festus Mogae.

Daily News Foreign Service