South Africa - 05

South Africa: Implications of the al-Bashir Arrest Debacle

On 15 June the North Gauteng High Court ruled that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir should be arrested while in the country for the 25th AU Summit in Johannesburg. The high court’s ruling followed an urgent court application from the Southern Africa Litigation Center (SALC) on 14 June to force the South African government to arrest al-Bashir during the AU summit, as it became apparent that there was no intention to do so – despite the International Criminal Court (ICC) having previously issued two warrants for his arrest. However, minutes after the High Court’s order was handed down, government lawyers confirmed that al-Bashir had already been allowed to depart from Waterkloof Air Force Base near Pretoria. Al-Bashir’s sudden departure was in contravention of an earlier court order that required numerous South African government officials and departments to prevent al-Bashir from leaving the country. As a result…