Editor's Note: This op-ed was written by the Enough Project's Founding Director John Prendergast and Sudan and South Sudan Policy Analyst Akshaya Kumar and originally appeared in TIME as "The Sudanese President’s Escape Highlights the Determination of African Lawyers" on June 15, 2015.
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, who has been dodging an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant for years, is now safely back in Khartoum. But he returns branded with the scarlet letter of a wanted man, a fugitive from international justice.
Over the weekend, a South African judge responded to a local group’s petition for his arrest by issuing a court order preventing Bashir, who stands accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, from leaving the country. Bashir was in South Africa to mingle with other presidents and prime ministers at the African Union’s semi-annual summit. The AU’s ongoing opposition to the ICC’s work in Africa had a prime position on the agenda. But creative lawyering helped South African civil society groups steal the headlines and turn the summit’s spotlight back to Darfur’s long-suffering people.