Sudan's Omar al-Bashir's plane flies out of Waterkloof

Advocate William Mokhari say al-Bashir’s name wasn’t on the list of passengers on the flight to Sudan.

Plane with call sign Sudan 01 taking off from Waterkloof Air Force Base just before midday on 15 June 2015. Alet Pretorius/Beeld/Netwerk24.

JOHANNESBURG - An aircraft using the call sign Sudan 01 took off from the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria at 11:46am.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued a warrant of arrest for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who was in South Africa to attend the AU Summit in Johannesburg.

Al-Bashir is accused of committing genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

The Sudanese president was in South Africa to attend the African Union summit being held in Sandton.

Eyewitness News understands that the aircraft which departed from Waterkloof Air Force Base was assigned the call-sign Sudan 01 which normally indicates that the president is on board.

The plane left as the High Court in Pretoria called a brief adjournment in the application for the Sudanese president to be arrested on an ICC warrant.

When court proceedings resumed, Advocate William Mokhari said it was understood that al-Bashir was not on the aircraft that left Waterkloof, but this must still be confirmed.

Mokhari added that al-Bashir's name wasn't on the list of passengers on the flight to Sudan.

However, Sudanese state minister for information Yasser Youssef says al-Bashir left the country shortly before midday and is expected to arrive in Khartoum at around half past six this evening.

The aircraft on which al-Bashir arrived on over the weekend was flown from OR Tambo International Airport to the air force base yesterday just hours after an interim court order prohibited him from leaving.

Concerns have been raised that the government may have used a technicality in the law to undermine the court order and allow al-Bashir to leave through a South African National Defence Force (SANDF) controlled facility.

On Sunday the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) secured an interim order to try and stop him from leaving with the ultimate aim of forcing him to stand trial.

SALC lawyer Caroline James said South Africa is a signatory to the Rome Statute and its domestic laws compel the country to act against the Sudanese president.

Meanwhile UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said earlier on Monday that the ICC's warrant for the arrest of Bashir must be implemented by countries who have signed up to the Hague court's statutes.

"The International Criminal Court's warrant for the arrest of President al-Bashir on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes is a matter I take extremely seriously," Ban Ki-moon said in Geneva.

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