The Slatest

Sudan’s al-Bashir May Have Narrowly Escaped Genocide Arrest in South Africa

Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir at the African Union Summit in Johannesburg on June 14.

Mujahid Safodien/AFP/Getty

Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir appears to have fled South Africa by private jet shortly before orders were issued for his arrest on genocide charges being pursued by the International Criminal Court at the Hague. Al-Bashir had been in South Africa for an African Union summit meeting. From the New York Times:

Mr. Bashir’s private jet was seen flying out of a South African military airport near Pretoria, apparently unhindered by the South African authorities who had been ordered by the country’s High Court to prevent him from departing …


His apparent departure came as a High Court resumed a hearing on the South African government’s legal responsibility toward Mr. Bashir. The hearing began on Monday afternoon, but Mr. Bashir’s departure would make the proceedings moot.

The High Court ultimately decided to order al-Bashir’s arrest, reports indicate, but the decision likely comes too late to be enforced.

Al-Bashir has controlled Sudan since 1989, and the ICC accuses him of directing the persecution and murder of civilian populations in Darfur. Before his apparent escape, the United Nations, the United States, and the European Union had called on South Africa to carry out the ICC’s warrant for al-Bashir’s arrest.