South Africa revokes ICC withdrawal

South Africa issued a notice to formally revoke its withdrawal from the International Criminal Court on Tuesday. The decision comes after the Gauteng High Court ruled in February that the initial process to withdraw from the ICC was unconstitutional and invalid.

On Tuesday, the secretary general of the United Nations Antonio Guterres issued a statement saying that South Africa had revoked its withdrawal from the ICC as a result of the high court ruling. Guterres referred to the ruling, saying “the approval of the Parliament of South Africa had to be obtained before the Instrument of Withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court can be deposited with the United Nations”.

The high court, however, heard that Parliament had not been consulted about the decision to withdraw from the ICC.

Last year, South Africa announced it would withdraw from the ICC after it was condemned by the international court for not arresting Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir during his visit to the country in 2015. Al-Bashir has been accused of war crimes and genocide, but has denied the allegations.

The ICC issued a warrant for al-Bashir’s arrest in March 2009, and then issued a second warrant in July 2010. The charges against al-Bashir include five counts of crimes against humanity, two counts of war crimes and three counts of genocide


The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) found that South Africa had been inconsistent with its own law by not arresting al-Bashir. The state approached the SCA after the high court ruled it was obligated to arrest al-Bashir. But the then deputy minister of justice and constitutional development, John Jeffery, defended the decision to not arrest al-Bashir, saying it would “basically be declaring war” with Sudan.

“The ICC is not the court we signed up for. It has diverted from its mandate and allowed itself to be influenced by a powerful non-member…” Jeffery said. 

South Africa formally began the process to withdraw from the ICC in October 2016, telling the UN that its obligations to peaceful conflict resolution were “incompatible” with the UN’s

Justice Minister Michael Masutha will appear before Parliament’s international relations committee on Wednesday to address the high court ruling which found the withdrawal from the ICC to be unconstitutional.

Retired judges, meanwhile, have made a submission to Parliament’s justice and correctional services portfolio committee regarding the state’s decision to withdraw from the ICC.

Subscribe to the M&G

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.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

How smuggled gold destined for Dubai or Singapore has links...

Three Malagasy citizens were apprehended at OR Tambo International airport, but now the trail is found to connect to France and Mali

How lottery execs received dubious payments through a private company

The National Lottery Commission is being investigated by the SIU for alleged corruption and maladministration, including suspicious payments made to senior NLC employees between 2016 and 2017

More top stories

R2.3bn VBS trial expected to only begin in 2022

The state is expected to request a 16 week-long trial, as delays stymie progress in the saga.

Spy boss tells how agency was used to detain Zuma’s...

Day two of State Security Agency testimony at the Zondo commission birthed more revelations that point to the former head of state and agents breaking the law

Covax will take excess doses of Covid vaccines off the...

The global initiative plans to deliver two billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines to developing nations

Eastern Cape citizens don’t have to visit the labour department...

This measure, aimed at slowing the spread of Covid-19, may shortly be introduced in other regions.
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…