ANC Upholds Decision To Withdraw From ICC: Facts You Didn’t Know
ANC Talks ICC Membership: The issues around the International Criminal Court (ICC), and South Africa’s membership keep getting complicated and saying it’s very devastating is very safe.
Although the ANC government has not really given the issue its best shot, the truth remains that the future of South Africa’s relationship with the ICC lies in the hands of our Members of Parliament.
Check Out: ICC Exit: High Court Rules Against Government’s Decision
On Sunday, the Zuma-led government reiterated its commitments to eventually withdraw South Africa from the International Criminal Court – despite its recent withdrawal of its notice to withdraw.
The party’s subcommittee on international relations affirmed that consultations are still ongoing, adding that there’s urgent need for ICC to clarify/change the statutes – especially the issue of ‘diplomatic immunity’ when a head of state wanted by the ICC visits an ICC member country.
Briefing Journalists at Luthuli House, the committee’s head Edna Molewa also disclosed that South Africa has discussed this issue with countries in the European Union as well as Britain.
“At this point there has not been any review of that mandate in that regard as a subcommittee, we are going on and understand that mandate to be saying as we withdraw from the ICC, we need to consult with [African Union] level, which I think has been happening throughout the time as the decision has been made,” she added.
Molewa, however, buttressed that ANC’s decision to withdraw from Hague-based ICC does not mean the ANC supports those who committed the grave crimes which are adjudicated by the ICC (genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity)
South Africa had withdrawn its official application to withdraw from the ICC only on procedural grounds after courts in the country ruled that the government should first have obtained Parliament’s approval.
On October 21, 2016, Justice Minister Michael Masutha announced that South Africa had initiated the process of withdrawing from the ICC by notifying the United Nations of its intention.
The decision was as a result of a 2015 dispute over a visit by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the ICC for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur.
Bashir’s arrest warrants were issued by the ICC in 2009 and 2010. The Darfur conflict has so far claimed as many as 300,000 people while about 2 million people have been displaced.
Several international court judgments stipulated that the South African government violated the law by not arresting the 71-year-old president during his visit to South Africa for an African Union summit in June 2015.
Al-Bashir was fled the country even though the North Gauteng High Court Judge Hans Fabricius ordered authorities to stop him then. The ICC subsequently charged South Africa with failing to comply with its ICC obligations.
In April 2017, the South African government denied the charge when it appeared at an ICC hearing on the issue. The ICC is expected to rule on this matter as early as this month.
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Nevertheless, if the ICC rules that South Africa did indeed violate ICC procedures, it could refer the country to the ICC’s Assembly of States Parties or to the UN Security Council for possible punishment.