Government will peruse the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruling that found South Africa failed to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir during the African Union Summit in June 2015, the Department of International Relations said on Thursday.
“The Government will study the ruling and its implications and seek legal opinion on available options. In the meantime, South Africa reiterates its total commitment to the principles of international justice,” the statement read.
The ICC on Thursday found South Africa had failed in its duty to arrest Bashir when he was in the country.
“The Government notes in particular that the ICC has decided not to refer the matter to the Assembly of State Parties and the United Nations Security Council,” the Dirco statement said.
Judge Cuno Tarfusser said South Africa had a duty to arrest Bashir in June 2015 and surrender him to the courts.
The ruling comes after the South African government ignored an order by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria preventing Bashir from leaving the country. The Sudanese president had been attending an African Union summit in Johannesburg in June 2015.
According to information provided by the ICC, Bashir, who has been president of the Republic of Sudan since 1993, was issued with his first warrant of arrest on March 4, 2009, and another on July 12, 2010.
He has been charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.
In the wake of the controversy over the matter, the South African government stated its intent to withdraw from the Rome Statute.
However, in March this year, the government backed down on that idea, following a ruling by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in February which stipulated that a withdrawal would be unconstitutional and invalid - and needed to be decided on by Parliament.