ICC gives SA more time to explain al-Bashir debacle

The court had given government until 5 October to defend its failure to detain the Sundanese president.

FILE: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (R) shakes hands with South African President Jacob Zuma during a meeting.Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The International Criminal Court (ICC) says it will give South Africa more time to explain why it defied an order to arrest Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir, extending the deadline until a Pretoria court finalises the case.

News agency AFP is reporting this evening that the Hague-based court's decision comes after it originally gave government until the 5th of this month, to defend its failure to detain al-Bashir when he landed in the country to attend the Africa Union (AU) summit.

Al-Bashir is wanted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed against civilians in Sudan's vast Darfur region, where the United Nations says about 300,000 people were killed and 2.5 million others forced to flee their homes in a deadly conflict.

The ICC has also ordered South Africa to "promptly report... Any developments in the relevant judicial proceedings as they occur".

At its National General Council over the weekend the ANC resolved to withdraw from the ICC.

In June, the High Court in Pretoria ordered the arrest of Sudanese president after he left South Africa through the Waterkloof Airbase, in direct defiance of a court order for him to remain in the country.

He has evaded two arrest warrants from the ICC since 2009 for crimes against humanity committed in Sudan.