SA-ICC Battle: Government Insists On Leaving The International Criminal Court


Despite public criticism of its decision to leave the International Criminal Court  (ICC), the South African government is finalising plans to complete its withdrawal from the organisation.

As part of its final step to officially, withdrawal from the ICC, Justice Minister Michael Masutha is expected to submit government’s notice of withdrawal from the Rome Statute

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

The ANC had earlier in 2015, announced its resolution to cut ties with the ICC. The SA government notified the UN of its intention to leave last October, saying the International Criminal Court pursued “regime change” but their decision was ruled that the decision was unconstitutional and invalid.

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The ruling was in favour of the opposition party, the Democratic Alliance which argued that the government had to first seek parliamentary approval.

The court ordered the government to revoke its notice of withdrawal which it later did but it was not yet clear at the time if it meant that the country had abandoned intentions to leave the international court, or if it was seeking another way to do so.

In his response, Justice Minister Michael Masutha said the government still intended to quit the ICC. He said the government would consider its options, including a possible appeal, after studying the full judgement.

Insisting that the ICC was no longer useful, the ANC also called for the “speedy operation of the African Court of Human and People’s Rights”, a mooted replacement for the ICC for African countries.

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President Jacob Zuma claims that the international court as being biased against African states and, in its most recent public statements, the leadership has maintained its aim to leave the organization.

South Africa, Burundi and Namibia are among African states that have said they will withdraw from the International Criminal Court but Gambia, which had also announced its withdrawal, has now said that it will remain in the ICC.