Al-Bashir has left SA - reports

Pretoria - The SA government seems to think Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir is still in the country, but according to a tweet by a prominent journalist his plane has taken off.

As the High Court in Pretoria started hearing an application to order the government to arrest him for war crimes, lawyer William Mokhari, for the government, was asked by the judges whether Al-Bashir was still in South Africa. 

"To the best of our knowledge as government, he is still in the country," replied Mokhari.

But minutes later, shortly after the court adjourned for an hour, Netwerk24 journalist Erika Gibson tweeted that his jet had taken off.

Netwerk24 photographer Alet Pretorius later tweeted photos of Al-Bashir's plane flying off.

Al-Bashir was in South Africa to attend an African Union summit in Johannesburg, where he believed he would be protected against an international arrest warrant. It concludes on Monday.

On Sunday, Judge Hans Fabricius ordered that the Department of Home Affairs ensure that all points of entry and exit be informed that al-Bashir is not allowed to leave until the SA Litigation Centre's (SALC) application that South Africa arrest him, is concluded.

The SALC had applied for South Africa to enforce two warrants for Al-Bashir's arrest issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2009 and 2010 relating to alleged war crimes and genocide.

It said that on Saturday the ICC ruled that diplomatic immunity did not apply to heads of state wanted for trial and issued a plea to South Africa to arrest him to stand trial.

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