Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has eluded an arrest order for war crimes, successfully returning home from South Africa, where the nation’s high court had issued an order to arrest him.
Al-Bashir was indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2009 on charges that he committed war crimes and genocide in Darfur, where 300,000 people died. But that didn’t stop him from flying to South Africa last week for an African Union leaders’ summit.
Officials say they’ll look into how the leader was able to elude the arrest order that had been requested by both the ICC and a national human rights group, the Southern African Litigation Center.
Over the weekend, a South African judge issued an interim order preventing al-Bashir from leaving the country. And on Monday, a panel of high court judges said the country is obligated to arrest the Sudanese president.
From Johannesburg, reporter Nastasya Tay tells our Newscast desk:
“Just after midday, a jet believed to belong to the Sudanese president took off from Waterkloof Air Force Base, just outside Pretoria. His name allegedly wasn’t on the passenger manifest, so it took court officials several hours to confirm that the ICC indictee had actually fled.
“His departure — in direct violation of an interim court order passed Sunday afternoon — has been met with public outrage and condemnation. South Africa is a signatory of the Rome Statute [of the International Criminal Court], and so is obliged to arrest and hand al-Bashir over to the ICC, but government officials insist al-Bashir has diplomatic immunity as a head of state.”
“They say there’ll be an investigation into how the wanted Sudanese president was able to leave the country. ”