SA begins process to withdraw from International Criminal Court

South Africa is withdrawing from the International Criminal Court, according to a document seen by Reuters on Thursday, a move which would take effect one year after notice is formally received by United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.

A UN spokesperson declined to confirm receipt of the document, which is signed by Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and dated October 19.

“The Republic of South Africa has found that its obligations with respect to the peaceful resolution of conflicts at times are incompatible with the interpretation given by the International Criminal Court,” according to the document.

The South African mission to the United Nations was not immediately available to comment on the document.

The International Criminal Court, which opened in July 2002 and has 124 member states, is the first legal body with permanent international jurisdiction to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.


Burundi appeared set to become the first state to withdraw from the Rome Statute, the 1998 treaty establishing the global court, after its parliament voted last week to leave. President Pierre Nkurunziza signed a decree on Tuesday, but the United Nations has not yet been officially notified.

South Africa said a year ago that it planned to leave the International Criminal Court after its government faced criticism for ignoring a court order to arrest Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who is accused of genocide and war crimes, when he visited the country last year.

Several African countries have expressed concern that the focus of The Hague-based court has been on Africa rather than elsewhere in the world.

“The Republic of South Africa is committed to fight impunity and to bring those who commit atrocities and international crimes to justice and as a founding member of the African Union promotes international human rights and the peaceful resolution of conflicts on the African continent,” the document said.

“In complex and multi-faceted peace negotiations and sensitive post-conflict situations, peace and justice must be viewed as complementary and not mutually exclusive,” the South African document said.  – Reuters

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Mask rules are not meant to ‘criminalise’ the public

Shop owners and taxi drivers can now refuse entry to people who defy mandatory mask-wearing regulations

Ramaphosa asks all South Africans to help to avoid 50...

Calling this ‘the gravest crisis in the history of our democracy’, the president said level three lockdown remains, but enforcement will be strengthened

Reinstated Ingonyama Trust managers hit with retrenchment notices

The effect of Covid-19 and the land reform department’s freeze of R23-million because the ITB didn’t comply with budget submissions are cited as some of the reasons for the staff cuts
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday