S.A Court bars Sudan’s Bashir from leaving country

HAS TIME COME?: Sudan's Omar al-Bashir could be arrested by the South African court and handed over to the ICC

HAS TIME COME?: Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir could be arrested by the South African court and handed over to the ICC

The High Court of Pretoria, South Africa has temporarily ordered the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir can not leave South Africa where he is attending the 25th African Union Summit.

The court has said it will rule Monday whether or not Bashir, who is facing International Criminal Court (ICC) charges of Genocide, war crimes and Crimes against humanity, can be arrested to answer those charges that stem from the Darfur conflict.

According to the United Nations, the conflict that started in 2003, has claimed about 400, 000 lives and has forced millions out of their homes, especially women and children.

The Hague-based court has issued an international arrest warrant for Bashir’s arrest and upon hearing the Sudanese dictator was planning to attend the summit, they appealed to South Africa to arrest him and hand him over to the court.

The President of the Assembly of the International Criminal Court, Sidiki Kaba said in a statement that he “calls on South Africa, which has always contributed to the strengthening of the Court, to spare no effort in ensuring the execution of the arrest warrants.”

Kaba added he was deeply concerned “about the negative consequences for the Court in case of non-execution of the warrants.”

Bashir has traveled to friendly African and Middle Eastern countries without being arrested but this is a diplomatic test facing President Jacob Zuma, and South Africa, and indeed the African Union.

AU and the ICC have a love-hate kind of relationship, in 2003 when the ICC indicted then presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and his vice presidential pick William Ruto, many African leaders condemned the court for “hunting” Africans.

Since its inception in 2002, the ICC has indicted mostly Africans, the most high profile African leader to be indicted and convicted by the court is Charles Taylor who is serving a 50-year sentence in a prison in the United Kingdom.

ICC has since dropped the charged against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. Several years ago when Bashir wanted to travel to Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni warned him he would get arrested, and the Sudanese leader changed his mind about going to Uganda.

The 25th African Union Summit is being attended by more 50 African Heads of State.