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South Africa given a week to look into Bashir departure

16 June 2015, 11:39 Jenni Evans, News24

Johannesburg - The South African government confirmed that it would look into how Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir managed to leave the country in spite of a court order preventing this.

In a short statement it said: "Government notes the judgment of the North Gauteng High Court on the matter regarding Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

''As indicated in court, government will enquire the circumstances under which President al-Bashir left the country. We will also comply with the court order relating to submission of an affidavit outlining these circumstances,'' said the statement by Acting Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams, as al-Bashir settled back in after his arrival back home in Sudan.

This was after Isabel Goodman from the SA Litigation Centre (SALC), which had brought the order for his arrest, said there appeared to be a prima facie case that the order that he does not leave was violated. Expressing concern over Sunday's order not being complied with, Judge Dunstan Mlambo gave the government seven days to file an affidavit within seven days saying when and through which port al-Bashir had left.

''We will however await written reasons of the judgment as indicated by the court,'' said the statement by Acting Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams, as al-Bashir settled back in after his arrival back home in Sudan.

Reasons for the judgment are expected from the court in a week.

The North Gauteng High Court ruled that South Africa should have arrested al-Bashir in terms of an International Criminal Court warrant when he arrived in the country on Saturday to attend the African Union summit.

It ordered that South Africa must detain him to be handed over to the ICC, as requested in an application by SALC, but minutes later State counsel William Mokhari SC said he had been informed that al-Bashir had already left.

This seemed to confirm speculation that he was on the Sudan-registered plane seen leaving Waterkloof while the application for his arrest was underway. There had been an interim order preventing his departure and all points of entry and departure were supposed to have been notified by the government.

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- News24


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