World / Africa

S. Africa court issues order preventing Sudan's president to leave

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-06-14 19:29

JOHANNESBURG, June 14 (Xinhua) -- The Pretoria High Court on Sunday issued an order preventing Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir to leave South Africa.

Judge Hans Fabricius said al-Bashir should not leave the country until an urgent application to have him arrested has been heard.

The Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) filed the urgent application to the court earlier in the day, requesting a court order to have al-Bashir arrested.

Al-Bashir is reportedly in South Africa attending the ongoing 25th African Union (AU) Summit.

This came after the International Criminal Court (ICC) urged South Africa to arrest al-Bashir when he arrived in the country for the AU Summit.

The ICC has two outstanding warrants against al-Bashir, wanted over allegations of anti-humanity crimes.

Al-Bashir reportedly arrived in South Africa on Saturday night, but the SA government hasn't confirmed the news.

South Africa, a signatory to the Rome Statute of the ICC, has said previously that al-Bashir would be arrested if he arrived in South Africa.

But an unidentified government source said it would be ridiculous to arrest al-Bashir who was invited by the SA and AU to attend the AU Summit.

The SA government has kept silent over the ICC request. Calls to several departments for comments went unanswered.

The ICC called on South Africa to respect its obligations to the Rome Statute of the ICC to arrest al-Bashir.

Al-Bashir's fate has become the focus of attention as a large of media contingent gathered at the Sandton International Convention Centre in Johannesburg to seek any information about him.

The whereabouts of al-Bashir remains a mystery. But in the convention hall, his name tag is seen on the desk.

The AU Summit, scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. local time, was postponed indefinitely. No reasons were given.

The SALC, which filed the court application, said al-Bashir is in South Africa.

"As far as we understand, he is still here," SALC lawyer Caroline James said.

"We just want to ensure that he is arrested before he leaves South Africa," James said. Enditem


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