In what was almost a "Pinochet moment" in South Africa, the NGO Southern African Litigation Centre requested a South African court to serve two International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrants against President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan.
The South African Supreme Court issued an order that Bashir not leave the country until the court decided on the validity of the request. The president had been in Johannesburg, South Africa, to participate in the yearly Summit of the African Union (AU). He left on his governmental jet on June 13 before the Supreme Court was able to meet.
The ICC arrest warrants of 2009 contain seven charges, including crimes against humanity, murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture, rape, attacks against civilian populations, and pillaging. The thorough examinations of the evidence presented by the then Chief Prosecutor of the ICC confirmed the statements, which NGOs, including the Association of World Citizens, had been making to the UN human rights bodies in Geneva since early 2004.
The charges against Bashir concern the conflict in Darfur which began in 2003, not the 1982-2005 civil war that led to the separation of South Sudan in 2011. This civil war was the second half of a conflict from 1954-1972, which ended with a ceasefire largely organized by the World Council of Churches.