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Al-Bashir at an African Union summit in 2009

Court orders Sudanese President al-Bashir to remain in South Africa

A South African court has bid to arrest Omar al-Bashir who is currently in the country for an African Union summit. Two arrest warrants have been issued against the President of Sudan by the International Criminal Court (ICC) since 2009 in which he is accused of genocide, among other crimes.

The interim order blocks his departure until later on Sunday when the court will make its decision whether to hand him over to the ICC in The Hague.

Al-Bashir has been regularly visiting other African and Middle Eastern states, despite the arrest warrant. The African Union accused the ICC of focusing too much on the crimes of African leaders and has refused to cooperate with the court in the past.

South Africa, however, is a member state of the ICC and has therefore an obligating to ensure his arrest.

Al-Bashir is accused of three counts of genocide, as well as war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the crime of extermination.

The charges relate to the conflict in Darfur which claimed more than 300,000 lives, according to the UN. Al-Bashir has been in office since 1993.

The main opposition party of South Africa has called for his surrender to the ICC, according to the BBC. The transfer remains uncertain as government officials are unlikely to support the arrest, welcoming the Sudanese president at the Johannesburg airport on Saturday.

 

Elisabeth Brahier

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