SA High Court says allowing Bashir to leave was a violation of the law

Bashir is wanted by the ICC on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in relation to the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region


South African High Court Judge Dunstan Mlambo said that allowing Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir to leave the country despite an order compelling him not to do so was a clear violation of the law.

The Department of Home Affairs was to prevent the Sudanese president from leaving the country. Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Describing how the court came to learn after its ruling that Mr Bashir be arrested and handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to be tried for human rights violations that he had already left the country‚ he said this was “in our view‚ a clear violation of the order”.

The South African government had previously warned the Sudanese leader that he would be arrested if he set foot on South African soil.

“For this reason‚ President Bashir declined SA’s invitation to attend the inauguration.”

Judge Mlambo outlined how SA and 30 other African states had signed up for the ICC and that SA had passed an act of Parliament “domesticating the statute”.

He said the statute required that SA “co-operate fully with the court”.

Judge Mlambo said this case is about South Africa’s obligations to the Rome Statute.

He said during the handing down of last week’s ruling, the state repeatedly offered assurances that he was in the country but the court found out after the ruling that Al-Bashir had left.

The ICC issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir in 2009.

The judge said South African officials confirmed that they would arrest Al-Bashir if he arrived in the country.