NEWS

SA Withdraws Its Intention To Leave The ICC

This follows a high court ruling that says SA's initial attempt to withdraw was invalid.

08/03/2017 08:40 SAST | Updated 08/03/2017 09:05 SAST
Jerry Lampen / Reuters
The entrance of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is seen in The Hague, Netherlands, March 3, 2011. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen/File Photo

South Africa has withdrawn its intention to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC). The notice was announced by secretary general of the United Nations on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Michael Masutha is expected to address Parliament's international relations committee on Wednesday about the High Court ruling that declared the government's decision to leave the ICC invalid.

On February 22, the High Court in Pretoria ruled that the government's notice of withdrawal from the Rome Statute without parliamentary approval was unconstitutional and invalid. It ordered government to revoke the notice of withdrawal from the ICC.

Deputy Judge President Phineas Mojapelo told Jeremy Gauntlett, for President Jacob Zuma and Masutha, that the executive's function was to seek public consultation.

He challenged Gauntlett's argument that it was the executive's prerogative to enter into, and withdraw from, treaties the country had signed and that Parliament only needed to give its approval.

Mojapelo said if the authority was not expressed in the Constitution, the matter should go to the National Assembly.

Masutha announced in October last year that South Africa had initiated the process of withdrawing from the ICC. He told reporters that the government notified the United Nations of its intention to revoke its ratification of the Rome Statute, the ICC's founding treaty.

It would take a year for the decision to come into effect, Masutha said.

The decision followed several court judgments that the government violated the law by not arresting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir during his visit to South Africa for an African Union summit in June 2015.

The ICC had issued warrants for al-Bashir's arrest and wanted him to stand trial on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

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