Tutu weighs in on al-Bashir saga, questions SA’s moral fabric

Tutu bemoaned the fact that al-Bashir was allowed to enter and leave SA despite being a wanted man.

FILE. Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has weighed in on the saga around Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, as questions swirl around South Africa's perceived reluctance to comply with a court order preventing him from leaving the country.

Tutu has bemoaned the fact that al-Bashir was allowed to enter and leave the country, despite being a wanted man by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In a statement, Tutu said some of the world's most powerful nations have created the rationale for the South African government to allow al-Bashir into the country despite an international warrant of arrest hanging over his head, and then to allow him to travel home despite a South African High Court order to the contrary.

LISTEN: Here are two divergent perspectives on the ICC in Africa and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's slick exit from South Africa on Monday without facing arrest or any legal action.

Tutu said the fact that al-Bashir was allowed into the country speaks volumes about South Africa's moral fabric as the Dalai Lama was denied entry three times.

He added that if the world is to become a fairer, more compassionate, tolerant and peaceful place, it needs institutions like the ICC to hold those who abuse power to account.

LISTEN: A caller tells 702's John Robbie that his friend in the SANDF in Sudan says they've been on standby since President Omar al-Bashir landed.


At the same time, questions have emerged over who allegedly misled the High Court as to the whereabouts of the Sudanese president, as he was en route back home.

A SANDF official has said it's the International Relations Department which compiles an aircraft passenger list and hands it to the air force officials at the Waterkloof Air Force Base.

For more than two hours on Monday the High Court was led to believe that while an aircraft had taken off, President al-Bashir's name was not on the passenger list and only later was it revealed that he had in fact left the country.

The question now is who compiled that list? And at what point was it realised that al-Bashir was out of the country, or was government council misled to allow the Sudanese president time to flee?

International Relations has declined to answer these questions and referred all queries to the national government, which has announced it will fully investigate the circumstances of al-Bashir's departure.

WATCH: Government given one week to explain how Omar al-Bashir left South Africa