JOHANNESBURG - An official complaint has been filed by Muslim lawyers in South Africa for the arrest of US President Barack Obama on charges of killing civilians in drone attacks in Muslim countries.
The Complaint asks for Obama's arrest when he enters South Africa or the securing of his attendance at a trial by other lawful means, Yousha Tayob, spokesman of the Muslim Lawyers Association, told Cii Broadcasting.In terms of the ICC [International Criminal Court] Act, diplomatic immunity is not a defense and a Head of State is not immune from prosecution for the aforementioned crimes.
The Muslim body has lodged the complaint with the National Prosecuting Authority to demand Obama's arrest during his scheduled visit to South Africa on June 29.
The lawsuit demands Obama's trial for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide for killing hundreds of civilians in drone attacks in several Muslim countries.
The lawyers group accuses the Obama administration of ordering drone strikes that killed innocent civilians in Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
A 600-plus page document was submitted by the lawyer association asking for investigation into Obama's involvement in the Middle East.
Washington has been launching drone attacks in several countries on claims of hunting terror suspects.
A recent report by researchers from New York University School of Law and Stanford University Law School found that in four years, Obama commissioned five times more drone attacks than former president George W Bush did in his two terms in the White House.
The report estimates drones have killed between 474 and 881 civilians, including 176 children.
In Pakistan, more than 3,000 people, including women and children, have been killed in more than 300 drone attacks in North and South Waziristan since 2004.
According to New American Foundation, and Human Rights Watch, nearly 50 percent of the drone targets were innocents.
Last month, Obama pledged to narrow the scope of the targeted killings by unmanned drones and announced steps toward closing the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba.
Supporters say South Africa has the right to prosecute a war criminal on its territory under the Rome Statue,
In the alternative, the complaint requires South Africa as a State Party to the Rome Statute, to refer the case to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court at the Hague to exercise Jurisdiction in terms of the Rome Statute Tayob said.
The South African Police Service confirmed that the complaint, dubbed the Obama Docket, was lodged on Friday.
Spokesperson Brig Phuti Setati said the complaint calls on South African law enforcement agencies to take seriously its domestic and international obligations and to act against International War Criminals, including Obama.
However I cannot give you any more details about this right now, Phuti said.
The US Embassy in South Africa's spokesman Jack Hillmeyer said it had "no comment".Muslims make up some 1.5 percent of South Africa's 49 million-strong population, according to the CIA fact book.