Published On: Mon, Jun 15th, 2015

South Africa: Govt Must Investigate Al-Bashir’s Departure – Court

The South African government must investigate the departure of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Monday, as the High Court in Pretoria ruled that he should, in fact, have been arrested.

In a ruling read to the court by Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, who with Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba and Judge Hans Fabricius decided on the matter, the government’s failure to detain al-Bashir was “inconsistent with the constitution of the republic”.

“The respondents are compelled to take reasonable steps to arrest President al-Bashir without a warrant… and detain him pending a formal request for his surrender from the International Criminal Court.”

But following the order, William Mokhari, SC, for the government, told the court: “I have been informed by the government that they have reliable information that President al-Bashir has departed from the republic… to the Sudan.”

He said the state security minister had informed him that the circumstances of al-Bashir’s departure would be investigated.

Earlier on Monday, the court heard that there was no official confirmation that al-Bashir had left the country.

Mokhari told the court it was not clear if his name was on the list of officials who boarded a plane to Sudan, which reportedly took off from Waterkloof airport on Monday morning.

This while Al Jazeera News quoted a Sudanese information minister on Monday morning saying that al-Bashir was “coming back to our country in one or two hours”.

Waterkloof airport did not have immigration officials full-time, said Mokhari.

“But I’ve been assured, despite that, that Waterkloof was also notified and the person in charge this morning was informed of the interdict,” said Mokhari.

He was speaking at an application by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) for the court to issue an order for the arrest by al-Bashir.

He is wanted by the International Criminal Court to stand trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur which left 300 000 dead.

Al-Bashir arrived in the country on Saturday for a two-day African Union summit in Johannesburg that ends on Monday.

On Sunday, Judge Hans Fabricius ordered that the Department of Home Affairs ensure that all points of entry and exit be informed that al-Bashir is not allowed to leave until the SA Litigation Centre’s (SALC) application that South Africa arrest him, is concluded.

SALC has requested that a copy of everybody that has received the notice, be made available to them.

Source: News24

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