Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir returns home after fleeing South Africa, pre-empting a court ruling over an international warrant for his arrest.
Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes.
The Pretoria High Court was due to decide whether Omar al-Bashir should be handed over to the ICC which charged him with the crimes.
Omar al-Bashir was in Johannesburg for an African Union (AU) summit.
A news conference will be held in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, upon his arrival.
On June 14, a judge barred Omar al-Bashir from leaving until the arrest application had been considered.
Omar al-Bashir is accused of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide during the Darfur conflict.
The UN says that about 300,000 people in Sudan have died and more than two million have fled their homes since fighting began in 2003.
Government forces and allied Arab militias are accused of targeting black African civilians in the fight against the rebels.
At the hearing at the Pretoria High Court, the lawyer representing the South African government says Omar al-Bashir’s name was not on the list of passengers who took off earlier.
On June 15, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the ICC’s warrant for the arrest of Omar al-Bashir must be implemented by countries who have signed up to the court’s statutes.
As a member of the ICC, South Africa is obliged to arrest anyone charged by the court. Before the summit, the ICC issued a press statement urging the South African government “to spare no effort in ensuring the execution of the arrest warrant”.
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over war crimes charges, left Khartoum on June 13 to travel to South Africa for an African (AU) summit, state news agency SUNA said.
The ICC has called on South Africa to arrest Omar al-Bashir.
Omar al-Bashir is wanted for war crimes over the conflict in Darfur.
An ICC statement said South Africa should “spare no effort” in detaining him.
But instead he was welcomed by South African officials on his arrival in Johannesburg, SABC tweeted.
Since the Sudanese president was indicted by the ICC in 2009 over alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Darfur conflict, his overseas travel has been severely restricted.
Omar al-Bashir was accompanied by the foreign minister and other top Sudanese officials, SUNA reported.
There are tensions between the ICC and the AU, with some on the continent accusing the court of unfairly targeting Africans.
The AU has previously urged the ICC to stop proceedings against sitting leaders.
The warrants against Omar al-Bashir, who denies the allegations, have severely restricted his overseas travel.
He has, however, visited friendly states in Africa and the Middle East.
The ICC has no police force and relies on member states to carry out arrests.
As a signatory to the Rome Statute that established the ICC, South Africa is obliged to arrest Omar al-Bashir if he sets foot in the country, but correspondents say this is unlikely to happen.
The AU has previously refused to co-operate with the ICC, accusing it of bias against African leaders.
Sidiki Kaba, president of the assembly of states to the ICC, expressed “deep concern about the negative consequences for the court” if South Africa refused to comply with its obligations to carry out the arrest.
Human rights organizations and South Africa’s main opposition party have also called for Omar al-Bashir’s arrest.
Darfur has been in conflict since 2003, when rebels took up arms against the government. The UN says more than 300,000 people have died, mostly from disease.
The ICC has ended an investigation into war crimes in the region, but the warrants against Omar al-Bashir remain outstanding. The court accuses him of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.
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