Sudan's al-Bashir in South Africa

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) -- Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was in South Africa following a judge's order that he remain due to an international order for his arrest, a lawyer for the South African government said Monday. He later said reports that al-Bashir's plane had taken off were not "conclusive proof" that he was gone.

Sudanese and South African officials did not provide information about al-Bashir's exact whereabouts.

Lawyer William Mokhari told a court in Pretoria that a South African judge's order that al-Bashir should stay in the country is being complied with and that there is no risk of al-Bashir "disappearing" while he attends an African Union summit in nearby Johannesburg.

"He is in the country," Mokhari said late Monday morning in the court in South Africa's capital.

The court then adjourned for an hour. Soon afterward, South African journalist Erika Gibson tweeted photographs of what she said was Sudan's presidential jet taking off from a South African military base.

Mokhari then said he had been informed that al-Bashir was not on a list of names of people who had left on the plane from the military base at Waterkloof.

In Geneva, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the authority of the International Criminal Court must be respected and its decision implemented.

"The International Criminal Court's warrant for the arrest of President al-Bashir on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes is a matter I take extremely seriously," said Ban, who was in Geneva for peace talks on Yemen.

The charges against al-Bashir, who took power in a 1989 coup, stem from reported atrocities in the conflict in Darfur, in which 300,000 people were killed and 2 million displaced in the government's campaign, according to United Nations figures.

In a government notice published June 5, South Africa's minister of international affairs, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, signed an agreement granting diplomatic immunity to delegates participating in the African Union summit in Johannesburg.

(KA)