Bashir Leaves S. Africa

Bashir Leaves S. Africa
Bashir Leaves S. Africa

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for war crimes, left South Africa, pre-empting a court ruling over an international warrant for his arrest.

The Pretoria High Court was due to decide whether he should be handed over to the International Criminal Court, which has charged him with the crimes. Bashir was in Johannesburg for the African Union summit, BBC reported.

A South African judge, Dunstan Mlambo, said the failure to arrest Bashir had violated the country's constitution. Bashir had been barred by a court order from leaving the country until the arrest application had been considered. The Sudanese leader is accused of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide during the Darfur conflict.

The UN says that about 300,000 people in Sudan have died and more than two million have fled their homes since fighting began in 2003. Government forces and allied Arab militias are accused of targeting black African civilians in the fight against rebels.

On Monday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the ICC's warrant for the arrest of Bashir must be implemented by countries who have signed up to the court's statutes.

As a member of the ICC, South Africa is obliged to arrest anyone charged by the court.