Al-Bashir Still A Wanted Man

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Omar Hasan al-Bashir

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PRESIDENT Omar al-Bashir of Sudan is still being chased about with warrant of arrest from the International Criminal Court of Justice, but there is no indication that African leaders are ready to betray one of their owns.

President Omar al-Bashir remains a wanted man by the International Criminal Court of Justice. This was demonstrated by the international court which ordered his arrest in Johannesburg, South Africa, where al-Bashir is attending an African Union, summit.

Following the call by the international court, Southern African Litigation Centre, a legal rights group, went to court to force government to arrest him and the court granted a temporary order banning the Sudanese leader from leaving the country. The Sudanese leader is wanted over alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the Darfur conflict.

That notwithstanding, Sudan is confident that South Africa would not betray its president. “It is difficult to give details of President Bashir’s timetable, but he will return when the main session is over. This could be today or tomorrow. I will not go into the details. Until now, things are normal and there is no risk to his Excellency the president,” Kamal Ismail, Sudan’s state minister for Foreign Affairs, said at a news conference.

Bashir, who in March 2009 became the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the ICC, travelled to Johannesburg for the summit on Saturday, June 13, at the head of Sudan’s delegation in defiance of his indictments.

The ICC does not have its own police force, but relies on signatories to its foundation document, the Rome Statute, to arrest indictees. The ICC issued arrest warrants for Bashir in March 2009 and July 2010 and he faces 10 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the decade-old Darfur conflict.

Since the indictment, the Sudanese president has been playing cat-and-mouse game with the ICC investigators and supporters, frequently travelling to countries which are not signatories to the court’s statuses, unlike South Africa.

The Sudanese government under al-Bashir is being blamed for the killing of more than 300,000 persons in the ethnic conflict in western Sudanese region of Darfur, which erupted in 2003.

The United Nations says more than 2.5 million people were also displaced in the conflict.

— Jun 15, 2015 @ 13:00 GMT

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