A South African court has criticised the government for letting Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir leave the country despite an International Criminal Court arrest warrant.
The court asked the public prosecutor to investigate if the government had broken the law.
Mr Bashir denies the ICC charge he committed war crimes in Darfur.
A court had ordered him to stay in South Africa while it ruled whether he could be arrested.
He had gone to South Africa for an African Union summit and the government argued he enjoyed diplomatic immunity.
He left the summit early, before the court could rule on this issue.
The BBC’s Nomsa Maseko in Pretoria says that Judge Dunstan Mlambo suggested there was reason to believe that the South African government had committed a crime by ignoring the court order.
He gave the government 24 hours to explain why and how Mr Bashir was allowed to leave the country.
The judge explained that the wider consequences could be huge – saying the state cannot function if it ignores court orders.
“If the state… does not abide by court orders, the democratic edifice will crumble stone-by-stone until it collapses,” he said.
Judge Mlambo ruled that President Bashir did not have immunity while attending the AU summit.
He said that South Africa had disregarded international law in order to preserve relations with the AU.
Previously, the AU has urged member states not to cooperate with the ICC, accusing it of bias against Africa.

READ ALSO  FMC Keffi records 3 suspected cases of Lassa fever