The High Court in Pretoria on Monday will hear an application on whether South African authorities can arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. On Sunday Judge Hans Fabricius ordered that the Department of Home Affairs ensure that all points of entry and exit be informed that al-Bashir is not allowed to leave until the SA Litigation Centre’s (SALC) application that South Africa arrest him, is concluded.
Al-Bashir is in South Africa to attend the African Union summit. South Africa’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has also been brokering a peace deal between South Sudan, and Sudan, with oil supplies between the two a sticking point.
Following Fabricius’ order, justice department spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said South Africa would take reasonable steps to ensure that officials at all points of entry and exit were told of the court order.
“In so far as practically possible reasonable steps will be taken to comply with the interim order given the fact that we will now be preparing our arguments for the main argument tomorrow on the substantive issues,” Mhaga said outside court.
The SALC had applied for South Africa to enforce two warrants for Al-Bashir’s arrest issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2009 and 2010 relating to alleged war crimes and genocide. It said that on Saturday the ICC ruled that diplomatic immunity did not apply to heads of state wanted for trial and issued a plea to South Africa to arrest him to stand trial.
The application started after 11:00 on Sunday with officials hastily brought to court in Pretoria, but the government said it was not ready because of the short notice, having received papers at around 10:30.
It asked for an adjournment, but the SALC, fearing that al-Bashir would leave in the meantime, obtained an interim order preventing his departure. News24