JOHANNESBURG, The High Court in Pretoria ruled on Wednesday that the South African government violated the law by ignoring a court order preventing Sudanese President Omar Al-bashir from leaving the country during the 25th African Union (AU) Summit in Johannesburg.
All indications were that the South African government had not complied with a Pretoria High Court order granted on June 14, compelling authorities to keep al-Bashir in the country, Judge President Dunstan Mlambo said.
The court also ruled that al-Bashir should be detained under an International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment on war crime charges.
Al-Bashir left South Africa half way of the AU summit on June 14, defying the order requesting him to remain in South Africa pending an application by the Southern African Litigation Centre for his arrest.
Mlambo invited the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams to consider whether criminal proceedings were appropriate for officials who allowed al-Bashir to leave the country despite the court order.
“A democratic state based on the rule of law cannot exist or function if the government ignores its constitutional obligations and fails to abide by court orders,” Mlambo said.
“A court is the guardian of justice, the corner-stone of a democratic system based on the rule of law. If the State, an organ of State or a state official does not abide by court orders, the democratic edifice will crumble stone-by-stone until it collapses and chaos ensues,” Mlambo said.
The SA government is expected to present an affidavit to the court on why it let al-Bashir leave the country.