Sudanese Foreign Minister says President Bashir is in South Africa to attend AU summit and will leave as scheduled despite South African court order preventing him from leaving.
SOUTH AFRICA, JOHANNESBURG, (JUNE 14, 2015)(REUTERS) – A South African judge barred Sudan’s indicted president from leaving the country on Sunday (June 14), in a deepening rift between Africa and the West over what Pretoria called anti-poor country bias in the International Criminal Court (ICC).
President Omar al-Bashir, visiting South Africa for an African Union summit, stands accused in an ICC arrest warrant of war crimes and crimes against humanity over atrocities committed in the Darfur conflict. He was first indicted in 2009.
But Sudanese Foreign Minister speaking at the start of the summit said Bashir will leave as scheduled, when the summit ends.
“We are here as guests and hosted by the government of South Africa. I believe the government of South Africa can deal with its court and whoever is trying to stop president Bashir from leaving the country.
I can tell you that Bashir will leave on time as it has been scheduled, ” Ibrahim Al-Ghandour, Sudan’s Foreign Minister said.
A judge is expected on Monday to hear an application calling for Bashir’s arrest, though this appears unlikely as South Africa’s government has granted legal immunity to all African Union delegates.
Judge Hans Fabricius postponed the hearing until 0930 GMT on Monday to allow the government time to prepare its case, urging South African authorities to “take all necessary steps” to prevent Bashir leaving the country.
Sudan’s government defended the South African visit of Bashir, who was sworn in this month in Khartoum for another five-year term, and said the court order had “no value”.
The conflict in Darfur has killed as many as 300,000 people and displaced 2 million, the United Nations says.
The ICC issued a statement asking Pretoria “to spare no effort in ensuring the execution of the arrest warrants”.
It said the court’s members had “deep concern” about the negative consequences if any signatory state failed to assist in detaining Bashir.