A SOUTH African judge has ordered that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir should not leave the country until an application by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to have him arrested is considered.
According to local media, Pretoria High Court Judge Hans Fabricius granted the Southern African Litigation Centre a temporary order to prevent President Al-Bashir from leaving South Africa until his case to have him arrested has been heard.
Mr Al-Bashir is in South Africa to attend the African Union (AU) summit taking place in Sandton.
Mr Justice Hans Fabricius postponed his ruling until 11:30 hours today on whether the Sudanese President should be arrested.
The application had been brought by the SALC on behalf of a group of human rights organisations.
There are about nine respondents, including the Home Affairs Department.
The South African government is opposing the urgent application by the Southern African Litigation Centre, citing South Africa’s obligations as a member of the ICC.
However, the government earlier promised all African leaders immunity to attend the summit.
Mr Justice Hans Fabricius said according to the order, President Al-Bashir was prohibited from leaving the country until he handed down his final ruling.
“The following order is made to President Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan, he is prohibited from leaving the Republic of South Africa until the final order is made in this application and the respondents are directed to take all necessary steps to prevent him from doing so,” he said.
The ICC has two outstanding warrants against Mr Al-Bashir for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.
SOURCE: Times of Zambia
ALSO FROM AFP:-
JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – The International Criminal Court (ICC) has called for South Africa to arrest Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, who is reported to have arrived in Johannesburg for a summit of the African Union that starts on Sunday.
Mr Bashir is wanted by the ICC, of which South Africa is a signatory, over alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the Darfur conflict dating back to 2003.
The court’s president Sidiki Kaba said in a statement that he “calls on South Africa, which has always contributed to the strengthening of the Court, to spare no effort in ensuring the execution of the arrest warrants”.
He was deeply concerned “about the negative consequences for the Court in case of non-execution of the warrants”, the statement added.
The African Union summit is chaired by Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, who has urged African leaders to pull out of the ICC treaty, but human rights groups expressed outrage that Mr Bashir could openly defy arrest.
“As a signatory of the ICC, South Africa has an obligation to arrest him,” Johannesburg-based rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba told AFP.
“Failure to do so puts them in the same bracket as other African regimes who have no respect for human rights. It’s actually a test for South Africa.”
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