NEWS

Government Forges Ahead With Plans To Leave The International Criminal Court

Justice Minister Michael Masutha to submit government's plans to withdraw from the Rome Statute to Parliament.

07/12/2017 07:44 SAST | Updated 07/12/2017 07:44 SAST
REUTERS/Evert Elzinga
Judge Cuno Tarfusser (C), Judge Chang-ho Chung (R) and Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambautat (L) issue a ruling on South Africa's failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir during a three-day visit in June 2015, during a session of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, July 6, 2017.

Government is moving forward with its plans to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), and Justice Minister Michael Masutha will soon submit government's notice of withdrawal from the Rome Statute, SAfm reported on Wednesday.

Masutha will also introduce an International Criminal Crimes Bill to replace the Rome Statue.

This follows a decision by the ANC's international relations subcommittee to reaffirm the party's resolution to withdraw from the ICC on Wednesday, News24 reported. The resolution was taken in 2015.

AT the time, the ANC reportedly said the ICC was no longer useful. This followed a court order preventing Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for war crimes by the ICC, from leaving South Africa. Al-Bashir was allowed to leave in spite of the court order.

As a signatory to the Rome Statute, South Africa was obliged to hand over al-Bashir. Masutha now wants to release South Africa from its duties as stipulated by the statute.

The ANC also called for the "speedy operalisation of the African Court of Human and People's Rights", a mooted replacement for the ICC for African countries.

Government decided to withdraw from the ICC, but its notice to do so was ruled invalid by the High Court in Pretoria in March this year, as proper procedure had not been followed. This was because the notice had to go through Parliament, not Cabinet, the court ruled.

Burundi is joining South Africa in leaving the ICC, defenceWeb reported. Burundi's leaders are wanted by the ICC for war crimes.