Government told to investigate as al-Bashir departs


The Pretoria High Court has called on government to investigate the sudden departure of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, following the granting of an interim application to have him stay in South Africa and face possible arrest for crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur.

al-Bashir, who was attending the African Union Summit in Johannesburg over weekend, reportedly left the country just after midday while the case was being presented in court.

According to News24, High Court Judge President Dunstan Mlambo stated that government should have reacted the moment al-Bashir arrived in the country, and that he “should be detained without a warrant    pending a formal request from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

At this point, State Advocate, William Mokhari, informed the court that al-Bashir’s plane had departed from the Waterkoof Air Force Base and that State Security Minister, David Mahlobo, had ordered the circumstances to be investigated.

In a series of tweet yesterday, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) stated that it taken note of al-Bashir’s arrival and that “calls upon government to challenge the [court] order now being brought to compel the South African government to detain President [of Sudan]”.

“The African National Congress National Executive Committee (NEC) holds a view that the International Criminal Court is no longer useful for the purposes for which it was intended”, another tweet read.

Speaking in a statement Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Stevens Mokgalapa, descried government’s failure to arrest al-Bashir as “disgraceful and a cynical new low”.

“The message we have sent out to the world – not least by our President and other leaders appearing all smiles and relaxed in the company of one of the world’s most wanted men – is that South Africa does not believe in justice for grave international crimes,” Mokgalapa said.

“By allowing al-Bashir to leave the country, the Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, and the government itself are in contempt of court. There must be consequences for such a serious disregard for the law”.