JOHANNESBURG: A South African court issued an interim order on Sunday preventing Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir leaving the country, where he was due to attend an African Union summit, until the judge hears an application calling for his arrest.
Bashir is accused in an International Criminal Court arrest warrant of war crimes and crimes against humanity over atrocities in the Darfurconflict.
Judge Hans Fabricuis said if Bashir was allowed to leave the country it would damage South Africa’s reputation, according to Eyewitness News. The court hearing is due to resume at 3 p.m. (1300 GMT), local media reported.
However, an arrest in South Africa appears unlikely because President Jacob Zuma’s government has given immunity to any leader or delegate attending the AU summit.
The ICC has called on South African authorities to arrest Bashir, who has yet to be seen in public at the summit. Sudanese state media and presidential sources said on Saturday he was heading to Johannesburg.
A statement issued by the court in The Hague asked Pretoria “to spare no effort in ensuring the execution of the arrest warrants”.
It said the court’s members had “deep concern” about the negative consequences if a member state failed to assist in detaining Bashir, who was indicted more than a decade ago.