NEWS RELEASE: HIGH COURT ORDERS ARREST OF ICC FUGITIVE, OMAR AL-BASHIR

Salc : Staff Writer

Pretoria – On Monday 15 June 2015, a full bench of the North Gauteng High Court, comprising Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba, and Judge Hans Fabricius, made an order for the arrest of the President of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir. Immediately thereafter the State confirmed that President Bashir had been allowed to leave the country contrary to an interim order made by the High Court on Sunday 14 June.

The interim order compelled the State Respondents, which included the Department of Home Affairs, to take all necessary steps to prevent President Bashir from leaving the Republic until the Court handed down a final order.

President Bashir stands accused by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity committed in the Darfur region of Sudan. In the face of two arrest warrants issued by the ICC, President Bashir has evaded liability, despite the obligation on ICC state parties, like South Africa, to execute the arrest warrant.

“Being an organisation committed to the rule of law, SALC is encouraged by the Court’s order and the independence of the judicial process,” said Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh, Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), the sole applicant in the case. “The rule of law, however, is only as strong as the government which enforces it. Home Affairs have allowed a fugitive from justice to slip through their fingers compounding the suffering of the victims of these grave crimes,” said Ramjathan-Keogh.

SALC says that it will wait for the Court to give its reasons in a week and an affidavit which the State Respondents were ordered to file accounting for its failure to enforce the interim order, before taking further action. It is strongly considering pursuing contempt proceedings against the State Respondents.

SALC is grateful for the invaluable support of Advocate Isabel Goodman and its attorney Moray Hathorn of Webber Wentzel in bringing the urgent application.