The South African government has been asked to have a rethink on its decision to pull out from the International Criminal Court.
In a statement issued by the president of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, Sidiki Kaba, the international organization described South Africa’s decision as demoralizing and unfortunate.
Kaba regretted that the decision will not only infuriate many but will also hang the continuity of other African States in ICC by the thread.
Pleading further, Kaba called on South Africa and Burundi to help intensify justice by backtracking their decisions.
“Although withdrawing from a treaty is a sovereign act, I regret these decisions and invite South Africa and Burundi to reconsider their positions. I urge them to work together with other states in the fight against impunity, which often causes massive violations of human rights,” the president of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute said.
On Thursday, October 21, with no public announcement or consultation, South Africa informed the United Nations (UN) that it will back off from the ICC. The state’s decision came just a few days after Burundi announced its withdrawal from the criminal court.
On Friday 22, Justice Minister Michael Masutha announced government’s unilateral decision to pull out from the criminal court. The Zuma-led government claimed its membership in ICC is in conflict with its obligations to the African Union to grant immunity to its heads of states.
As expected, the decision didn’t go down well with many South Africans, especially opposition groups. The DA described the move as a betrayal of South Africa’s commitment to a human-rights based foreign policy while the EFF reminded the Zuma-led government that South Africa is not their private shop, and should not be treated as such.
Across the globe, many people expressed shock with the move. To them, South Africa ought to be at the vanguard of efforts to deliver justice to victims of war crimes and genocide, in relation to the human rights-based foreign policy, and as supported by the late Nelson Mandela.
Others accused the ruling ANC of masterminding the decision because they do not care about human rights.