You are on page 1of 2

South African judge orders Sudan President Omar al-Bashir

detainment over ICC arrest warrant

JOHANNESBURG - A South African judge on Sunday ordered authorities to prevent Sudanese
President Omar al-Bashir, who is in South Africa for an African Union summit, from leaving the
country because of an international order for his arrest, human rights activists said.
Al-Bashir appeared for a group photo with other African leaders at the summit in Johannesburg on
Sunday, wearing a blue three-piece suit, a tie and a smile as cameras flashed.
Earlier Sunday, a South African judge ordered authorities to prevent al-Bashir from leaving South
Africa because he is wanted by the International Criminal Court, human rights activists said Sunday.
The African National Congress, which is 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."
"It is on this basis, amongst others, that the ANC calls upon government to challenge the order now
being brought to compel the South African government to detain President al-Bashir," the ANC said,
adding that African and Eastern European countries "continue to unjustifiably bear the brunt of the
decisions of the ICC."
Even before Sunday's events, the African Union had asked the International Criminal Court to stop
proceedings against sitting presidents and said it will not compel any member states to arrest a
leader on behalf of the court.
Al-Bashir has traveled abroad before and local authorities had not detained him at the behest of the
ICC, which is based in The Hague, Netherlands.
The Southern Africa Litigation Centre, a rights group, said it secured a judge's ruling that the
government must stop al-Bashir from leaving South Africa while the court hears arguments for his
arrest for alleged genocide and other crimes.

International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has said South Africa is under a legal
obligation to arrest al-Bashir and surrender him to the court. Her office has been in touch with
South African authorities on the Sudanese president's reported visit.
If al-Bashir is not arrested, the matter will be reported to the court's assembly of states and the
United Nations Security Council, which first referred the case of Sudan's Darfur region to the
International Criminal Court in 2005, she said.
The charges against al-Bashir, who took power in a 1989 coup and was reelected earlier this year,
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.
He has visited Malawi, Kenya, Chad and Congo in the last few years, all of which are ICC member
states. The ICC doesn't have any powers to compel countries to arrest him and can only tell them

they have a legal obligation to do it.

In March, the ICC halted proceedings against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta after the
prosecution said it did not have enough evidence against him. Kenyatta, who is attending the
summit, was charged in 2011 as an "indirect co-perpetrator" in post-election violence that left more
than 1,000 people dead in 2007 and 2008. He always maintained his innocence.
Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto is on trial for crimes against humanity in the election-related
2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast,
rewritten, or redistributed.