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We didn't give al-Bashir safe passage: South Africa

23 June 2015, 13:43

Johannesburg - Government has "categorically denied" weekend reports that it plotted the safe passage of Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir.

"Government has noted reports in the media claiming that security cluster ministers held a secret meeting to protect and give safe passage to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. The report relies on nameless and faceless sources to make these allegations," Government Communication Information Services (GCIS) said in a statement.

"Government categorically denies that there was a secret meeting held by the security cluster ministers including minister in the presidency and the director-general of the presidency in Cape Town. It alleges that this meeting was to plot the safe passage of President al-Bashir during African Union Summit in Johannesburg last week.

"Government remains committed to finalise this matter through the court process. It is expected to provide the court with a report that explains how President al-Bashir left the country," the GCIS statement said.

At the weekend, media reports indicated that President Jacob Zuma and senior ministers from the security cluster had carefully planned how al-Bashir would leave the country, despite a warrant for his arrest by the International Criminal Court (ICC), to which South Africa is a signatory.

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

Judge Hans Fabricius then ordered the department of home affairs to ensure that all points of entry and exit be informed that al-Bashir was not allowed to leave until SALC's application was concluded.

Al-Bashir left the country while the matter was still being heard in court.

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