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‘Al-Bashir’s passport was not submitted to immigration control’

Home Affairs has confirmed no one checked al-Bashir's passport before he left South Africa.

FILE: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Picture:AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Home Affairs Director General Mkuseli Apleni has now revealed Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir exited South Africa undetected because his representatives did not present his passport at immigration control.

The Sudanese president left the country a week ago from Waterkloof Air Force Base in direct contravention of a High Court order.

The court ordered that government submit an affidavit by today explaining the circumstances of al-Bashir's exit.

According to government the Sudanese president's representatives simply did not produce his passport at immigration control, which is why he was not detected.

LISTEN: How SA will be viewed in the Omar al-Bashir debacle

Apleni says Sudanese representatives informed international relations they intended moving from the Sandton Convention Centre to the Waterkloof Air Force Base.

He says international relations then informed the police to facilitate the movement.

Alpeni says the batch of passports was checked by immigration officers at the air base who confirmed al-Bashir's documents were not among them, they were then processed and returned to the Sudanese representatives before they departed.

LISTEN: Omar al-Bashir saga: 'SA only has itself to blame'

ICC CONSULTATION WITH SA

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe has accused the ICC of not consulting with South Africa in good faith.

The ICC wanted government to execute a warrant of arrest against al-Bashir, a move which put South Africa at risk of violating its obligations to the African Union (AU).

Radebe says government intends holding formal talks with the ICC to discuss its concerns with the Rome Statute.

"We have challenges with the ICC and those matters will be ventilated as we go forward. Government will be appointing a group of ministers that are going to be interacting with the ICC. We firmly believe that the consultation had not been taken in good faith."

Government says the court, before finalising consultations with government, decided South Africa was obligated to arrest al-Bashir when he attended the AU Summit in Johannesburg.

He says the international court knew South Africa would have difficulty arresting the Sudanese leader because of its obligations to the AU.

Media impact of South Africa's failure to arrest Omar al-Bashir.

ICC WITHDRAWAL

Earlier today, government said South Africa may, as a last resort, consider withdrawing from the International Criminal Court in the wake of the Al-Bashir debacle.

Subsequent media reports claimed President Jacob Zuma and his senior ministers plotted al-Bashir's safe exit.

Minister in the presidency Jeff Radebe said a decision to withdraw from the ICC will only be taken after South Africa exhausts all other remedies.

He said Cabinet has decided to review the country's participation in the Rome Statute of the ICC.

Radebe said the international court, before finalising consultations with government, decided South Africa was obligated to arrest and surrender Omar al-Bashir.

"It appears that the ICC had not extended the invitation to South Africa to consult with it in terms of article 97 in good faith." Radebe said it's abundantly clear that the International Criminal Court (ICC) knew that South Africa would have problems executing a warrant of arrest for Omar Al-Bashir because of its international obligations.

Government explained why it decided to review its participation in the Rome Statute of the ICC.

Speaking during a post cabinet briefing in Cape Town, Radebe said South Africa had to balance its obligations to the ICC and the African Union.

"South Africa also wants to understand from the ICC what its obligations are in terms of article 98(2) to a requested state, which can't in violation of an international obligation execute a warrant of arrest. South Africa also intends raising the matter at the next meeting of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court."

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