(Africa Spotlight) — The North Gauteng high court has ordered the South African government to prevent Sudan president Omar Al-Bashir from leaving the country pending the urgent application to compel SA to arrest him for war crimes.
The SA Litigation Centre brought the application for an order compelling SA to issue a warrant for Al-Bashir’s arrest on Sunday after the International Criminal Court called for Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir to be arrested on Sunday at a summit of African leaders in Johannesburg.
Isabelle Ellis‚ for the SA government‚ asked for the matter to stand down until 3pm to allow the state to prepare the answering affidavit and heads of argument. She said she had only received the applicant’s papers at 10am this morning and has not had a chance to get proper instructions.
Ellis argued that there was a cabinet decision to adopt the AU’s resolution not to comply with the ICC’s call to arrest Al-Bashir.
The applicants lawyer Isabel Goodman agreed that the matter stand down for three hours on condition that Judge Peter Fabricius grants an interim order preventing Al-Bashir from leaving the country.
The ICC indicted Al-Bashir for war crimes in 2009 for his role in the 2003 conflict which resulted in the death of more than 300‚000 people and displaced 2.5-million people‚ according to United Nations.
Tweeter went abuzz immediately after the ICC’s call for SA to arrest Al-Bashir‚ with the Institute for Security Studies Africa tweeting “Immunity for heads of state on official business doesn’t apply to the ICC; SA must #ArrestBashir. #AUSummit”.
@Sisonkemsimang tweeted: “I wonder how we in SA would have felt if someone had tried to protect PW Botha from arrest on foreign soil under apartheid? #OmarAlBashir“.
@kaysexwale tweeted: “What was @PresidencyZA thinking to allow Al-Bashir to enter SA? I don’t think we should hand him over but we don’t need this headache“.
Fergal Keane tweeted: “#SouthAfrica refuses @DalaiLama but welcomes war crimes accused #Bashir of Sudan. In Zumaland it just gets stranger and stranger“.
@HugoVHeerden tweeted: “…the Al-Bashir case (like most others from Africa) was referred to the ICC by Africa. How can it be said the ICC target Africans?”