Former South African President Nelson Mandela was laid to rest the evening of Dec. 15 in his boyhood village of Qunu in South Africa. Standing among the ranks of other globally recognized leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mandela was hailed by his people as their “greatest son.”
World leaders applauded his resilience and unrelenting fight for equality and freedom for his people.
But while more than 90 world leaders matched their rhetoric with an appearance at the memorial service for the iconic freedom fighter, others for various reasons opted to send a minion or simply declined altogether, with one prime minister saying he was “dreading” the experience.
President Omar al-Bashir (Sudan)
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir was concerned for his freedom when he chose newly appointed First Vice President Bakri Hassan Saleh to represent him at Mandela’s memorial.
A spokesman for the Sudanese Embassy confirmed to South Africa’s Sunday Independent newspaper that Bashir did not attend to avoid any complications associated with his indictment by the International Criminal Court.
According to Sudantribune.com: “Bashir faces two outstanding arrest warrants issued by ICC judges on 10 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide allegedly committed in Sudan’s western region of Darfur.”
Over 400,000 African farmers and citizens of Darfur have been murdered by Arab militias known as Janjaweed, reportedly ordered by Bashir.
If Bashir entered South Africa, he may have been arrested since South Africa is a signatory to the Rome statute that forms the basis of the ICC.