As a judge here prepared to rule on whether South African authorities must arrest visiting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for “crimes against humanity”, confusion prevailed about his whereabouts.
The Pretoria High Court issued an order that bars al-Bashir from leaving South Africa, the Independent Online reported.
Justice Hans Fabricious issued an interim order preventing the Sudanese president from leaving South Africa, pending a decision of the court, to be made after an urgent application that he be arrested is made.
Different media sources, quoting Sudan’s information minister in Khartoum, that Bashir had fled South Africa after attending the first day of the 25th session of the African Union (AU) summit being held in Sandton on Sunday.
Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against some of the tribes of Sudan’s western region of Darfur.
Two warrants of arrest were issued against him in 2009 and 2010. As a member of the ICC, South Africa is obliged to arrest him and surrender him to the ICC.
Bashir participated in the official opening of the summit and was still in the summit venue after 8.00 p.m. when he attended a meeting of the AU and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development concerning the crisis in South Sudan.
Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour, who is also at the summit, told journalists that Bashir would remain in South Africa until the summit ends on Monday.