Friday, June 21, 2013

South African Muslim Lawyers to sue prosecuting authority over refusal to investigate Obama


The association said it wants the U.S. president investigated over the droneprogramme.
The South Africa MuslimLawyers Association, MLA, plans to sue the National ProsecutingAuthority (NPA) for refusing to investigate and arrest U.S. President, Barack Obama, for crimes against humanity during his visit to the country, its lawyer has said.
Mr. Obama is to visit South Africa later this month.
Yousha Tayob, the MLA attorney, told journalists on Thursday in Johannesburg that the body would approach the court to seek an order to investigate Mr. Obama for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide under “Rome Statute”, the law establishing the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
The MLA cited the Obama administration’s drone programme as the reason for its action. The association said the complaint was made under the the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court, Act 2002 (the ICC Act).
“The drone programme is responsible for extra-judicial killings of both innocent civilians and terrorists alike.
“The drone strike policy has continued unabated with total disregard for territorial sovereignty,” the association said; citing this as the primary reason for demanding that Mr. Obama should be investigated and tried for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle that could be use for surveillance,intelligence gathering, and targeted attacks.
In a recent speech, Mr. Obama said that the U.S. used drones to target people it considered a threat to its national security when other measures were not possible.
The MLA said its complain was submitted to the national director of public prosecutions and the South Africa Police Service (SAPS), calling on them to “investigate, arrest, charge and try Obama in a South African court for crimes against humanity, and genocide”.
An NPA official confirmed receiving the MLA’s documents, but said authorityis neither going to arrest nor secure Obama’s attendance in a court room.
“The MLA received a letter of reply to its complain from the state attorney’s office on Wednesday. They have decided they are not commencing aninvestigation,’’ Mr. Tayob said.
He said the application for a review would be made next week, probably in the High Court in Pretoria.
Meanwhile, the Media Review Network (MRN) is also opposed to Obama’s visit to South Africa.
The Network’s Executive Director, Iqbal Jassat, said the MRN is planning to embark on a series of protests against Obama’s visits to the country, over the U.S. government’s use of drones, and to demand the closure of Guantanamo
Bay detention centre as promised.
He said MRN supports the MLA’s planned legal action.
“We have rallied behind these actions. The levels of pressure being mounted by the civil society would force the U.S. government to review the purpose of this visit and possibly lead to its cancellation,” Mr. Jassat said.
“We will ask the court to review its decision neither to investigate nor prosecute and to order them to commence a full investigation into the droneprogramme under the Rome Statute,” Mr. Tayob said.

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