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South Africa Reconsiders Participation in ICC


FILE - Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is seen during the opening session of the AU summit in Johannesburg, June 14, 2015.

FILE - Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is seen during the opening session of the AU summit in Johannesburg, June 14, 2015.

South Africa said it may withdraw from the International Criminal Court after controversy rose last week over its refusal to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on genocide charges.

Government spokesman Jeff Radebe made the announcement Thursday after a Cabinet meeting, saying a withdrawal would be a "last resort" after a review is made of the Rome Statute that sets out the guidelines for the ICC.

Bashir was in South Africa last week for a two-day meeting of African Union heads of state.

Under the Rome Statute, South Africa could have arrested him, as he is wanted by the ICC on genocide charges. But while a South African court considered the matter, Bashir defied an order to remain in South Africa and instead returned home to Khartoum, putting him out of reach of South African authorities.

The South African court handed down the order for Bashir's arrest just hours after he left the country.

Bashir is wanted on charges of war crimes and genocide related to the ongoing conflict in Sudan's Darfur region.

The United Nations estimates some 300,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million displaced by the violence.

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