Su­dan state news agency says al-Bashir is en route to Su­dan


Pres­i­dent Omar al- Bashir of Su­dan left South Africa with his plane sched­uled to land back home Mon­day night, Su­dan’s of­fi­cial news agency said, as the leader dodged a South African court’s ef­fort to have him ar­rested on geno­cide and other charges.

The In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court’s charges against al-Bashir stem from re­ported atroc­i­ties in the con­flict in Dar­fur, in which 300,000 peo­ple were killed and 2 mil­lion dis­placed in the gov­ern­ment’s cam­paign, ac­cord­ing to United Na­tions fig­ures.

In Geneva, U.N. Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon said the ICC’s author­ity must be re­spected and its de­ci­sion im­ple­mented.

An at­tor­ney for the South African gov­ern­ment, Wil­liam Mokhari, told a court Mon­day in South Africa’s cap­i­tal that a judge’s or­der that al-Bashir should stay in the coun­try was be­ing obeyed and that there was no risk of al-Bashir “dis­ap­pear­ing” while he at­tended an African Union sum­mit in nearby Jo­han­nes­burg.

But soon af­ter he ut­tered those words, South African jour­nal­ist Erika Gibson tweeted pho­to­graphs of what she said was Su­dan’s pres­i­den­tial jet tak­ing off from a South African mil­i­tary base. Su­danese state me­dia then said alBashir had left South Africa and that a news con­fer­ence will be held at the Khar­toum air­port upon his ar­rival at 6 p.m. 11 a.m. EDT).

On Sun­day, a South African judge in the Pre­to­ria court had or­dered that al-Bashir re­main in South Africa due to the ICC ar­rest or­der. Al-Bashir ap­peared in a group photo with other African heads of state on Sun­day at the African Union sum­mit in Jo­han-

(1500 GMT, nes­burg. Even be­fore Sun­day’s events, the African Union had asked the ICC to stop pro­ceed­ings against sit­ting pres­i­dents and said it will not com­pel any mem­ber states to ar­rest a leader on be­half of the court.

In a gov­ern­ment no­tice pub­lished June 5, South Africa’s min­is­ter of in­ter­na­tional af­fairs, Maite Nkoana- Masha­bane, signed an agree­ment grant­ing diplo­matic im­mu­nity to del­e­gates par­tic­i­pat­ing in the African Union sum­mit.

The South­ern Africa Lit­i­ga­tion Cen­tre, a rights group, had gone to court to press for al-Bashir’s ar­rest.

The African Na­tional Congress, South Africa’s rul­ing party, said the South African gov­ern­ment granted im­mu­nity “for all (sum­mit) par­tic­i­pants as part of the in­ter­na­tional norms for coun­tries host­ing such gath­er­ing of the AU or even the United Na­tions.”

The party urged the gov­ern­ment to chal­lenge the court or­der, say­ing African and Eastern Euro­pean coun­tries “con­tinue to un­jus­ti­fi­ably bear the brunt of the de­ci­sions of the ICC.”


A plane car­ry­ing Su­dan’s Pres­i­dent Omar al-Bashir takes off from Waterk­loof Air Force Base in Pre­to­ria, South Africa on Mon­day, June 15.

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