Su­dan leader held up

A court bars Pres­i­dent Bashir from leav­ing South Africa af­ter a sum­mit be­cause of geno­cide charges.

Los Angeles Times - - THE WORLD - By Robyn Dixon robyn.dixon@la­

JO­HAN­NES­BURG, South Africa — A court on Sun­day or­dered South African au­thor­i­ties to pre­vent the pres­i­dent of Su­dan from leav­ing the coun­try af­ter an African Union sum­mit, even though the gov­ern­ment had promised im­mu­nity to all at­ten­dees.

Su­dan’s Omar Has­san Ahmed Bashir faces charges of crimes against hu­man­ity and geno­cide in the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court. As a mem­ber state, South Africa is obliged to ar­rest him.

Un­der the in­terim or­der by a South African judge, Bashir was barred from leav­ing be­fore a court hear­ing Mon­day on an ap­pli­ca­tion from a hu­man rights group to force his ar­rest and trans­fer to the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court.

Bashir was in­dicted in 2009 and 2010 on charges of un­leash­ing mili­tias against the pop­u­la­tion in Dar­fur in a conf lict that killed more than 300,000 peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to United Na­tions fig­ures.

Since then, how­ever, Bashir has trav­eled to var­i­ous African coun­tries with­out be­ing ar­rested. This was his first trip to South Africa since the ar­rest war­rants were is­sued.

The South African Lit­i­ga­tion Cen­ter, a legal and hu­man rights group, filed the ap­pli­ca­tion in Pre­to­ria’s High Court on Sun­day.

Judge Hans Fabri­cius said a fail­ure to ar­rest Bashir would bring South Africa into dis­re­pute and or­dered that all bor­der posts be in­structed to not al­low the Su­danese pres­i­dent to de­part.

The South African gov­ern­ment failed in a bid to have the ap­pli­ca­tion thrown out of court on the ba­sis that play­ing host to the African Union sum­mit over­rode its obligations un­der the Rome Statute that es­tab­lished the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court, lo­cal news me­dia re­ported.

The Eye­wit­ness News tele­vi­sion chan­nel re­ported that Bashir was plan­ning to defy the court or­der and f ly out of South Africa overnight.

Bashir’s visit wasn’t an­nounced and ap­peared un­ex­pected. Lo­cal news me­dia re­ported that no place had been set for him at lunch af­ter the closed ses­sion of lead­ers. He later posed with other lead­ers for the tra­di­tional group pho­to­graph.

The South African gov­ern­ment asked for the case to be ad­journed un­til Mon­day, when the ap­pli­ca­tion will be heard.

The In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court was set up with the sup­port of many African states, but in re­cent years, African Union op­po­si­tion to it has grown. Kenya has led the op­po­si­tion, hav­ing elected Uhuru Keny­atta as pres­i­dent while he faced In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court charges of crimes against hu­man­ity.

The charges against Keny­atta were re­cently dropped. A pros­e­cu­tor for the court, Fa­tou Ben­souda, ac­cused the Kenyan gov­ern­ment of re­fus­ing to co­op­er­ate with in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

Shiraaz Mo­hamed As­so­ci­ated Press

SU­DANESE PRES­I­DENT Omar Has­san Ahmed Bashir at the African Union sum­mit in Jo­han­nes­burg. A news re­port said he planned to defy the court or­der.

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