article-0-01F2351100000578-869_634x492By Ahmed Areff, News24

Pretoria – Even if Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has fled South Africa, a ruling by the High Court in Pretoria compelling the state to arrest him is not pointless, a lawyer from the International Criminal Court (ICC) said on Monday.

“The judgment is not an exercise in futility. It can be implemented by the United Nations security council,” advocate Thokwane Post Moloto told News24 after the ruling was handed down.

“He can even be fetched in his own country by the UN forces.”

Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba and Judge Hans Fabricius ruled earlier that government’s failure to detain Al-Bashir was “inconsistent with the constitution of the Republic”.

“The respondents are compelled to take reasonable steps to arrest President al-Bashir without a warrant… and detain him pending a formal request for his surrender from the International Criminal Court,” Mlambo said.

But following the order, William Mokhari, SC, for the government, told the court: “I have been informed by the government that they have reliable information that President al-Bashir has departed from the Republic.”

He said the state security minister had informed him that the circumstances of Al-Bashir’s departure would be investigated.

The judges then made an order requesting that an affidavit must be filed by the minister in the presidency and the state security minister on how Al-Bashir managed to leave the country.

He is wanted by the ICC to stand trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur, which left 300 000 dead.

On Sunday, Fabricius granted an interim order preventing him from leaving the country pending the application for his arrest.

Moloto said Al-Bashir’s reported departure had left open a lot of questions. “Someone must come and explain what happened.”

Caroline James from the Southern African Litigation Centre, who brought the application for his arrest, told News24 the SALC was “deeply disappointed” that he had left the country.

“This was a direct contravention of the order granted yesterday,” she said.

When asked what was SALC’s next step, James responded: “We can’t comment on the next step yet, but we will issue a statement later in the day.”

Justice ministry spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said he had no comment.

Courtesy of ews24

Ends

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