Court holds Bashir in South Africa over war crimes

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A South African court has prevented Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, from leaving the country pending an arrest order.

High Court Judge, Hans Fabricius, made the interim ruling at a hearing in Pretoria on Sunday, saying they are awaiting a decision on whether to order the government to arrest him on war crimes charges.

Bashir was indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2009 and 2010 for alleged atrocities in the western region of Darfur.

South Africa is a signatory to the Rome Statute that established the ICC.

His assault on Darfur has cost the lives of 300,000 people since 2003.

The Southern Africa Litigation Centre, which promotes human rights, had filed an urgent court application seeking to overturn a decree granting immunity to all delegates attending an African Union summit that began Sunday in Johannesburg.

Sidiki Kaba, head of the Assembly of States to the Rome Statute of the ICC, asked South Africa on Saturday to arrest Bashir.

Court will hear an application later on Sunday on whether he should be handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

Bashir is in Johannesburg for an African Union (AU) summit chaired by Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, and running under the theme: “Women’s Empowerment and Development”.

The African Union has previously refused to co-operate with the ICC, accusing it of bias against African leaders.

It is still unclear whether the government of President Jacob Zuma will dare arrest Bashir.

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