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Sudan Leader Wanted for Darfur Genocide Held in South Africa

  • Omar al-Bashir is wanted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    Omar al-Bashir is wanted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. | Photo: Reuters

Published 14 June 2015

The International Criminal Court, based in the Netherlands, asked South Africa to stop Omar al-Bashir from leaving the country.

Sudan’s president was ordered by the Pretoria high court to remain in the country until Monday, when it will decide if he should be tried for the charges against him by The Hague’s International Criminal Court. 

Omar al-Bashir, visiting Johannesburg for an African Union summit, has been wanted by the International Criminal Court since 2009 on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the western Sudan region of Darfur.

Although South Africa is a signatory to the Rome Statute, establishing the court’s existence - which relies on member states arrests - it is believed the government might side with the Sudanese president. Indeed, relations between the court and African nations have been damaged by the court’s lopsided focus on the African continent over the rest of the world.

The arrest warrant details how Bashir was behind a plan to destroy the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups. For more than five years, Bashir’s armed forces attacked and destroyed villages, targeting displacement camps and obstructing international aid.

Bashir has denied the crimes and the existence of rape in Sudan. The UN estimates 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict and more than 2.5 million displaced, whereas the Sudanese government claims a total death toll of just under 10,000.

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