The High Court in Pretoria ruled on Wednesday that allowing Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir to leave South Africa last week was a clear violation of the law.
Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on two separate charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
Allowing Al-Bashir to leave the country before he could be arrested was apparently “a collective cabinet decision”. During a debate in Parliament on Tuesday, opposition MPs blasted government for allowing Al-Bashir to leave while African National Congress MPs maintained it had done nothing wrong.
Small business development minister Lindiwe Zulu told Parliament that arresting Al-Bashir on South African soil was out of the question and that it would endanger the peace process in Sudan.
New sites are quick to repeat the fact that Al-Bashir is accused of war crimes but are often scant on the details of the alleged atrocities he directed. Here are some of the acts Al-Bashir is accused of being complicit in.
Bashir has been accused of mass genocide for the killing of members of the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups. About 2.5-million people were displaced and 300,000 people killed by forces supported by the Sudanese government – such as the Janjaweed militia.
2. War crimes
According to the ICC, Al-Bashir’s government intentionally attacked civilians and looted their villages, making off with food and livestock, and leaving civilians vulnerable to starvation.
3. Crimes against humanity
Al-Bashir is accused of supporting several crimes against humanity. Under his rule, members of the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups were loaded onto trucks, transported to remote locations and executed; others were raped and tortured.
Despite all this, upon his return from South Africa, Al-Bashir was welcomed home warmly by his people – bearing in mind that press freedom in Sudan is debatable.