Sudan’s Bashir leaves S’Africa despite court order

Omar al-BashirSUDAN’S information minister has said that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has flown out of South Africa, defying a high court order which banned him from leaving the country until an application calling for his arrest had been heard.

“Yes, he has left,” Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman confirmed to Al Jazeera, saying that South Africa had always agreed not to arrest the president while he was in the country for the African Union summit.

Osman said President Bashir’s plane was due to land back in Khartoum at about 6:30pm local time (15:30 GMT). The South African state broadcaster, SABC, first reported at about 10:15 GMT yesterday that the plane had flown out of the Waterkloof air force base, on the outskirts of Pretoria.

The lawyer appearing on behalf of the South African government, however, told the high court in Pretoria that President Bashir was not on the list of passengers in the Sudanese plane that left Waterkloof base.

Earlier, Sudanese Information Minister Osman told Al Jazeera the president would return to Sudan yesterday. “He is coming back to our country in one or two hours,” Osman said, adding that it did not matter if the court ordered Bashir’s arrest, as it had no ability to enforce such an order.

“The judiciary…does not have policemen. The president is there [in South Africa] and no one is going to arrest him.” An interim order was made by the high court in Pretoria on Sunday, barring President Bashir from leaving the country pending an application from civil society organisations, calling for his arrest.

The high court in Pretoria was to decide whether to send Bashir to the International Criminal Court. Al Jazeera’s Fahmida Miller, reporting from Johannesburg, said that the Sudanese president’s plane had been moved to a South African military base late on Sunday night.

She said that the defence force was not a party to the court case, meaning President Bashir would be able to fly from the base unobstructed. If the plane has left as reported, the home affairs department could be held in contempt of court for failing to implement the conditions of the order, our correspondent reported.

Bashir, who is accused of war crimes in repressing an armed uprising in the Sudanese region of Darfur, was appeared in Johannesburg on Sunday for the AU summit.

The Hague-based ICC issued an arrest warrant in 2009, but Bashir denies the charges. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in Geneva on Monday that the authority of the ICC must be respected and its decision implemented. Before Sunday’s court ruling was announced , the judge said the court would decide whether a South African government cabinet decision to host Bashir would trump the ICC arrest warrant.

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  • Ojiyovwi

    Ha1 Ha!! Ha!! At last some real roar of the African Lion. Our mothers have called us to stand up and be counted. I am no friend of Omar Al Bashir, but that ICC (International Colonial Court) can go hang its founders. Africans must find our own trusted judiciary. We are fed up of a bunch lunatic whites lording it over us and rounding us up for their zoos to remind us of their ‘intellectual and moral’ superiority. How long must we hang our leaders who have wronged our people, in order to wide-mouthly, tennis-balled eyed, exaggerated foreheaded and arsed to the acceptance of these murderous race – the whites.
    The whiteman manufactures the guns they bondagely sell us to slaughter each other until they have made enough profits to create a war crimes dossier which will not be without the weapons they sold us to pay for their chosen lifestyle. They hold us to ransom over the values of their killing machine – the ICC cannot see this or dare not say a thing about this wickedness. Africans wake up! Africans Wake Up! Africans Wake Up!!! Don’t be intimidated into slavish acquiescence to the wishes of evil white nations. Stop building up the whiteman’s prejudice and the general black inferiority complex that stifles our self actualisation. They constantly fund research that upholds their warped view of the blackman’s poor lot in intelegence with their own experiments and award each other prizes for successfully undermining the blackman.
    Wake up Africans!! Wake up!!!! Viva Mugabe!!!

  • Ojiyovwi

    We cannot endlessly cry freedom! Freedom from our self-imposed intellectual and cultural inferiority. What right has anyone to create circus for observing Africans and defeated lesser Europeans in bating pit aka ICC? Are we to forever accept the current situation in which it is alright to manufacture killing machines for the exclusive use of Africans to kill each other? Here in the UK, a suicide bomber is the weapon produced by the handler or handlers in some cases. When the intelegence reveals the sources of the preparation all associates of the terrorist can expect to be rounded up and made to pay their evil. No not int case of the defence industry of Europe and others – these are awarded Nobel Prices whilst conveniently ignoring the end use of these machines. My fellow Africans I will not cease to ask what we could be if we stopped buying these costly machines and focussed our resources into food production machinery which we can produce? These will be better machines made by us and for us. It will be hard but we will all be in it for ourselves. Africans Wake Up! Africans Wake Up!! Africans Wake Up!!! Viva Mugabe as he is yet the only African since Kwame Nkruma and Sekou Toure. Wake up and act for our people!!!