Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir flew out of South Africa on Monday, defying a high court order which banned him from leaving the country until an application calling for his arrest had been heard.
Sudan’s information minister Ahmed Bilal Osman confirmed that he had left and was expected to land in Khartoum at about 18:30 local time.
An interim order was made by the high court in Pretoria on Sunday, barring President Bashir from leaving South Africa, pending an application from civil society organisations calling for his arrest on an International Criminal Court warrant.
Earlier on Monday, Osman said the president would return to Sudan regardless of whether the high court ordered his arrest.
“The [South African] judiciary does not have policemen. No one is going to arrest him.”
The South African state broadcaster, SABC, reported at about 10:15 GMT on Monday that the president’s plane had flown out of the Waterkloof air force base, on the outskirts of Pretoria.
Prior to the president leaving the country, the high court in Pretoria was expected to decide whether to send Bashir to the International Criminal Court.
A number of African countries have in the past decided not to co-operate with the ICC. The court has been accused of racism and bias against African leaders.