South African President Jacob Zuma is disappointed with the decision taken by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue a warrant of arrest for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. “President Zuma is extremely disappointed and concerned on the issuing of warrant by the ICC against Colonel Gaddafi,” presidential spokesman Zizi Kodwa told the SABC radio.
“Its quite unfortunate that the ICC could take such a decision whilst the African Union (AU) through its ad hoc committee has done so much and I think the progress so far signals that there’s a commitment now from both the side of the Libyan authority led by Colonel Gaddafi and the TNC (Transitional National Council).” He said the issuing of the warrant undermined the work done by the AU committee, the South African Press Association reported.
The ICC yesterday issued arrest warrants for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and military intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi for crimes against humanity. Zuma, who is on the committee, hosted the AU Ad Hoc High Level Committee on Libya in Pretoria on Sunday to discuss the implementation of the AU roadmap on Libya. The African leaders said Gaddafi had agreed to stay out of negotiations on ending Libya’s four-month political crisis.
The committee, which is chaired by the President of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Abdel Azizhas, held interactions with the Libyan parties on three occasions, including with Gaddafi and the TNC leadership in Tripoli and Benghazi in April. Other members are heads of state of the Republic of Congo, Mali, Uganda and South Africa, as well as the chairman of the AU Commission.
The Democratic Alliance, meanwhile, welcomed the announcement. “The DA calls on the African Union and the South African government to support the ICC’s decision in this regard, particularly as South Africa’s Constitution recognises the validity of international law,” DA foreign affairs spokesman Stevens Mokgalapa said in a statement. South Africa could not sit by and allow the dire humanitarian situation in Libya to deteriorate any further. Those responsible for the atrocities committed in Libya should be held to account, he added.
Gaddafi had lost all legitimacy as leader of Libya, and nothing less than his arrest and prosecution would pave the way for democratic reform and peace in that country, Mokgalapa avered.