Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir is reported to have flown out of South Africa earlier today, defying a high court order which barred him from leaving the country until an application calling for his arrest had been heard.
Al Jazeera quotes the Sudan’s information minister, Ahmed Bilal Osman confirming Bashir’s departure from South Africa.
“Yes, he has left,” said Bilal, adding that South Africa had always agreed not to arrest the president while he was in the country for the African Union summit, as quoted by Al Jazeera.
Bashir, who is wanted by the ICC for charges on crimes against humanity and genocide during the Darfur conflict, was in Johannesburg for an African Union (AU) summit. The ICC issued an arrest warrant in 2009 and a high court judge in Pretoria had on Sunday barred Mr Bashir from leaving the country until the arrest application had been considered.
The ICC had earlier on, prior to the summit, issued a press statement urging the South African government “to spare no effort in ensuring the execution of the arrest warrant”.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had earlier today maintained the ICC’s warrant for the arrest of Mr Bashir must be implemented by countries who have signed up to the court’s statutes.
Bashir is expected to land back in Khartoum at about 6:30pm local time (15:30 GMT) where he is expected to address a press conference.