EDITOR’s UPDATE (5:07 ET): The AFP article was actually referring to the previous decision by the judge. There is still no ruling yet on an arrest. TKNN regrets the misunderstanding and error.
UPDATE #2 (2:49 ET): EWN is reporting that al-Bashir has left South Africa. The departure was confirmed by Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman. Even after Osman said this in an interview with Bloomberg, reporters were still seeing al-Bashir in South Africa. TKNN is working to confirm the exact details of al-Bashir’s location and plans.
UPDATE (2:01 ET): The AFP is reporting that a South African judge ruled that al-Bashir is not to leave the country.
A South African High Court in Pretoria has issued an interim order attempting to prevent Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir from leaving the country. Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and he is the only head of state wanted by the ICC on that charge. However, al-Bashir has been able to evade international authorities and arrest for the past six years by rarely leaving the country. For this reason, al-Bashir’s very presence in Johannesburg for the
However, there are two conflicting pieces of legislation at play here that are leading to unlikely roles for some of those involved. The High Court ruled that Al-Bashir cannot leave until they rule on whether or not he should be arrested. The Rome Statute of the ICC says that signatories must assist the ICC. This could be providing witnesses or making arrests when needed. South Africa is a signatory, so this legislation would require them to arrest al-Bashir, due to his indictment. However, diplomatic immunity is also at play here. South Africa has passed diplomatic immunity through the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act which does extend diplomatic immunity to visiting heads of state. This means that prosecutors must argue to the High Court that al-Bashir should not be arrested.
The International Criminal Court released the following statement:
The President of the Assembly expresses his deep concern about the negative consequences for the Court in case of non-execution of the warrants by States Parties and, in this regard, urges them to respect their obligations to cooperate with the Court.
To this end, he calls on South Africa, which has always contributed to the strengthening of the Court, to spare no effort in ensuring the execution of the arrest warrants if the information received is confirmed.
The Court’s ruling is expected later today, but the South African news outlet Eyewitness News reported that al-Bashir was planning on leaving the country.
TKNN has reached out to the Sudanese government to find out the official government opinion, but there was no response at press time.