In an interesting development, A South African judge today barred Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir from leaving the country after the International Criminal Court called for him to be arrested at a summit in Johannesburg.
Bashir, 71, seized power in Sudan in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989. He is wanted for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the Darfur conflict and mostly travels to countries that have not joined the ICC, but South Africa is a signatory of the court’s statutes.
The ruling was the first time any court has prevented a head of state from leaving a country following a request by the ICC, but Sudanese officials remained defiant, insisting Bashir would return home on schedule.
The ICC called on South Africa “to spare no effort in ensuring the execution of the arrest warrants” against Bashir. It added that South Africa diplomats had been pressed last month to arrest Bashir if he attended the summit, but that they had replied they faced “competing obligations” over the issue.