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S’African court postpones arrest of Sudanese president

South Africa’s High Court in Pretoria on Sunday postponed an earlier order to have Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir arrested, at the request of the South African government.

The order was postponed until Monday to allow the government to present its side of the argument.

Judge Hans Fabricius ordered that al-Bashir not be allowed to leave South Africa pending the finalisation of the application for the government to arrest him and that the Department of Home Affairs ensure the order is sent to every port of entry and exit in the country.

The judge also ordered that there be proof of service of the order and the identity of each person it is served on.

William Mokhari, who represents the South African government, told the court that al-Bashir will not be allowed to leave until after the application to have him arrested has been heard.

”We are dealing with a very serious matter which involves a sitting president of another country,” said Mokhari.

He said the only reason al-Bashir was in the country was to attend the summit and there was no reason he would leave until it was over on Monday.

The court issued an order earlier on Sunday, preventing al- Bashir to leave South Africa until an urgent application to have him arrested has been heard.

Al-Bashir was attending the 25th African Union  Summit in Johannesburg on Sunday, in defiance of an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court.

Al-Bashir, dressed in a blue Western suit and looking relaxed, gave the thumbs-up to photographers as he stood for a group picture with other heads of state and government before the summit was kickstarted.

Earlier, the ICC urged South Africa to arrest al-Bashir when he arrived in the country for the AU Summit.

The ICC has two outstanding warrants against al-Bashir for alleged anti-humanity crimes.

The Southern African Litigation Centre  filed the application to the court earlier in the day, requesting a court order to have al-Bashir arrested.

The ICC called on South Africa to respect its obligations to the Rome Statute of the ICC, to which the country is a signatory.

Sudan’s foreign minister Ali Ahmed Karti told the local media that the ICC was only targeting African leaders.

“President Bashir is a leading president and a member of the African Union, and he will continue attending summits wherever they are,” he said.

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