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Lawyer: Al-Bashir still in SA

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has been ordered not to leave South Africa by the Pretoria High Court, will leave the country today, a presidency spokesman said. Picture: Ahmed Yosri

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has been ordered not to leave South Africa by the Pretoria High Court, will leave the country today, a presidency spokesman said. Picture: Ahmed Yosri

Published Jun 15, 2015

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Pretoria - While speculation was rife on Monday whether President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan may have already left South Africa, counsel acting for the government told a full bench of judges in the Pretoria High Court that as far as they are concerned, he is still in the country.

The court is due to hear arguments on Monday afternoon on whether he should be handed over to the International Criminal Court. He is wanted by the ICC for war crimes and is presently on invitation in South Africa to attend the African Union Summit.

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Judge Hand Fabricius on Sunday issued an interim order that he may not leave the country pending this application. But it was widely speculated that he had already left.

Because of the importance of the matter, three judges - Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba and Fabricius will hear the application.

At the start of Monday's proceedings Judge Mlambo asked whether al-Bashir was still in the country. Advocate William Mokhari responded “to the best of our knowledge he is still here.”

Mokhari said all the ports of entry were notified of Sunday's order and all, except five, had acknowledged that they had received a copy of the interim order.

Mokhari said it is doubtful that al-Bashir would leave before the summit had ended and before he has “executed the business his country came here for.”

The application meanwhile stood down to Monday afternoon as the judges wanted to read through government's affidavit consisting of 24 pages.

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