Judges concerned by violation of al-Bashir order

Pretoria - After instructing South Africa to arrest Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, a full bench of the High Court in Pretoria said on Monday that it was of concern that the government had ignored an earlier order to prevent him from leaving.

“It is declared by this court, that the conduct of the respondent [government] to the extent that they failed to take steps to arrest and detain the President of the Republic of Sudan is inconsistent with the Constitution of the Republic of SA,” Judge President Dunstan Mlambo read from his order.

“That the respondents are compelled to take all reasonable steps to effect the arrest of President al-Bashir without a warrant... in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act, and detain him pending a formal request for his surrender from the International Criminal Court.”

Moments later, William Mokhari, for the government, stood up and told the court that al-Bashir had left the country. He had been in Johannesburg attending an African Union summit.

“I have been informed by the government that they have reliable information that President al-Bashir has departed from the republic,” he said, to chuckling from the public gallery.

There had earlier been rumours that he had left through Waterkloof Air Force Base.

He said the ministers of state security and in the presidency had told him the circumstances of the departure would be “fully investigated”.

Isabel Goodman, for the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, which brought the arrest application, said this appeared to be a prima facie violation of the order handed down on Sunday, that the government prevent al-Bashir from leaving the country.

She asked for an affidavit from the two ministers placing on record when al-Bashir had left and through which port of exit.

Mlambo said it was “of concern” that Sunday’s order had not been complied with.

“It is of concern to this court that it issues orders and that things just happen in violation of these orders.”

He ordered that an affidavit be filed with the court registrar within seven days disclosing when and through which port of exit al-Bashir had left the country.

Mlambo said he would hand down reasons for ordering the government to arrest al-Bashir in a week.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
Should Proteas star Quinton de Kock continue playing at the T20 World Cup even if he doesn't take the knee in support of the fight against racism?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes! He should be allowed to show his support any way he chooses
38% - 1775 votes
No! If De Kock refuses to unite with his teammates, then he should be on the next plane home
12% - 568 votes
The only ones at fault here are Cricket SA, who have sabotaged another Proteas World Cup
49% - 2290 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.