SALC considers ‘contempt of court’ proceedings over al-Bashir saga

The SALC believes government allowed Omar al-Bashir to leave South Africa despite a court order.

FILE. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Litigation Centre (SALC) on Tuesday said it was considering contempt of court proceedings against the government departments it believed allowed Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to leave South Africa.

Jaws dropped across the country as al-Bashir took off from the Waterkloof Air Force Base despite a court interdict barring him from doing so.

The High Court in Pretoria on Monday ruled in favour of the SALC ordering that al-Bashir be arrested and handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) but by then he was long gone.

The Sudanese president is wanted on charges including genocide and crimes against humanity.

Judge President Dunstan Mlambo has since given government a week to explain how al-Bashir was allowed to exit South Africa.

WATCH: Govt given one week to explain how Omar al-Bashir left South Africa

On Sunday al-Bashir's aircraft was moved from OR Tambo International Airport to the Waterkloof Air Force Base after the interim order was granted.

The SALC's Caroline James said government has some explaining to do.

"It is concerning that they appear to treat orders issued by the High Court with such disrespect. Once we've determined when and where he left and when the information was made available to government officials, we'll be able to make more decisions on what steps we can take."

Mlambo said the court will provide full reasons for granting the order, in a week's time.

LISTEN: _How SA will be viewed in the al-Bashir debacle _

Meanwhile, the Sudanese president's departure has been described as 'a legal disaster for government', 'a disgraceful new low for South Africa' and a massive blow to the thousands of victims who suffered under al-Bashir.


At the same time, it's being reported that the African National Congress (ANC) is dumping the ICC, at least in terms of prosecutions in Africa.

The Star newspaper is reporting the ANC has clarified its position, saying it's of the view that the ICC is no longer useful to prosecute crimes against humanity.

The Africa Research Centre has said the ICC's hypocrisy is best displayed with its failure to intervene in crimes against humanity in Afghanistan.

The centre's director David Hoile described the ICC as dysfunctional and racist.

"It has ignored repeated complaints with regard to western allegations of human rights abuses in Afghanistan and even in Iraq since 2003. It's actually turned a consistent blind eye."

LISTEN: 'SA has only itself to blame over al-Bashir saga'

But genocide expert and journalist Geoff Hill said there was no basis to these claims.

"I would say that they have the most massive passion about what they do."

Meanwhile, United Nations Chief Ban Ki-moon has called on all signatories of the Rome Statute to respect the authority of the ICC and said he takes the charges against the Sudanese president 'extremely seriously'.