Sudan’s Bashir flies out of S. Africa, defying court order

Sudan’s Bashir flies out of S. Africa, defying court order

JOHANNESBURG – Agence France-Presse
Sudan’s Bashir flies out of S. Africa, defying court order

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is seen during the opening session of the AU summit in Johannesburg, Sunday, June 14, 2015. A South African judge on Sunday ordered authorities to prevent al-Bashir, from leaving the country because of an international order for his arrest, human rights activists said. AP Photo

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir flew out of South Africa on June 15, dodging a court order for him to stay as judges weighed up whether he should be arrested over alleged war crimes and genocide.

Bashir had travelled to Johannesburg for an African Union summit that was overshadowed by the International Criminal Court (ICC) calling for him to be detained on long-standing arrest warrants over the Darfur conflict.

Even as his plane took off from Waterkloof military airport outside Pretoria, the local high court heard legal arguments over the application to force the authorities to arrest him.

On June 14, Judge Hans Fabricius ordered authorities to stop Bashir from leaving the country after the Southern African Litigation Centre, a legal rights group, lodged its urgent case.

The president’s hurried exit from South Africa appeared to be a violation of the court order, and it immediately sparked anger from rights’ groups.

“[The] world stood [with] South Africa to fight apartheid but it stands for impunity for mass murder of Africans,” Kenneth Roth, director of Human Rights Watch, said on Twitter.

“South Africa has shamefully flouted ICC and domestic court to free man wanted for mass murder of Africans,” he added.

South Africa is a signatory of the ICC, which has often been criticised for only targeting Africa leaders.

“President Bashir’s plane took off from Johannesburg and will arrive around 6:30 pm (1530 GMT),” State Minister for Information Yasir Yousef told AFP in Khartoum.