South Africa court bid to arrest Sudan’s president al-Bashir 

JOHANNESBURG

June 14, Johannesburg: A South African judge on Sunday ordered authorities to prevent Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, from leaving the country because of an international order for his arrest, human rights activists said. Al-Bashir is in South Africa for an African Union summit.

They said Bashir will have to stay until the court hears 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. He faces ICC war crimes and genocide charges over the Darfur conflict.

The ICC has called on South Africa to arrest him. However he was welcomed by South African officials when he arrived in Johannesburg on Sunday.

He has, however, visited friendly states in Africa and the Middle East.

The ICC has issued two arrest warrants against Mr Bashir. The court relies on member states to carry out arrests.

However correspondents have said the South African government – a signatory to the treaty establishing the ICC – is unlikely to move against the Sudanese leader.

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

Darfur has been in conflict since 2003, when rebels took up arms against the government. The UN says more than 300,000 people have died, mostly from disease.

The Johannesburg summit is chaired by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who holds the rotating presidency of the AU. The official theme is Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development.

But the political turmoil in Burundi, crisis in South Sudan and the recent spate of xenophobic attacks in South Africa are also likely to feature heavily.

The Oslo Times and Agencies

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