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Court prevents Omar al-Bashir from leaving SA for now

The court order states that Omar al-Bashir can’t leave SA until it hears application calling for his arrest.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir speaks during a press conference in Khartoum late on September 22, 2013. Picture:AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The High Court in Pretoria has granted an interim order preventing Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir from leaving South Africa until the court hears the application calling for his arrest.

This is the Sudanese president's first visit to South Africa since the warrant for his arrest was issued.

Previously South Africa discouraged him from entering the country saying it would be obliged to arrest him.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has two outstanding warrants against his alleging genocide in Sudan's western province of Darfur.

Judge Hans Fabricuis says if al-Bashir leaves the country it will mean reputational damage for South Africa.

He says reasonable steps should be taken for his arrest to be effected in line with the law.

Fabricuis compelled al-Bashir not leave the country.

The court will determine whether the warrant is lawful, and whether it is enforceable.

South Africa state must argue why it is not.

The court will reassemble at 3pm.

SA PROSECUTORS WERE READY TO SPRING ON AL-BASHIR

It's emerged South African prosecutors were ready to spring on al-Bashir when he arrived in South Africa.

However, they were warned off by government that it's given blanket immunity to any leader, delegate and even people attached to delegations attending the AU summit.

This extraordinary piece of what prosecutors are calling unprecedented political interference came in a government gazette provision last Thursday under the Diplomatic Immunities and Protections Act.

The prosecutors and Department of International Relations and Cooperation were told unequivocally that it covers leaders and delegates arriving and moving to and from the summit.

The prosecutors say they've ascertained from the ICC that they're obliged to arrest Sudan's president on two outstanding warrants for genocide in Darfur but are being politically prevented from doing their job.

Meanwhile, ordinary South Africans took to Twitter to share their views on the court's ruling.

You don't pull out a gun and shoot yourself in the foot just because your neighbours are in the habit of doing so. Arrest #albashir

#OmarAlBashir If ICC was fair&just,it should have issued warrants for Bush,Blair,Botha,De Clerk&all apartheid Architects. #WhiteCriminalsWalk

We all know that #OmarAlBashir is an African, jst as he was when he committed those heinous crimes. Don't Patronise us abt that. Arrest thug

So now SA cannot allow #OmarAlBashir to leave the country. This is headed in one direction it seems #smh

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