ICC Withdrawal Is “Unconstitutional”, Rules South African Court

By Oladapo Okeowo

The High Court in South Africa has ruled that the government’s decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) is unconstitutional and invalid.

The government has been ordered to revoke the notice of withdrawal that it sent to the international body.

South Africa notified the United Nations of its intent to withdraw from the Rome Statute, the 1998 treaty establishing the Hague-based court, last October. The withdrawal takes a year after notice.

According to Reuters.South Africa said it was quitting the ICC because membership conflicted with diplomatic immunity laws.

The country, alongside a Jammeh-led Gambia and Burundi, signified its intention to leave the ICC after it accused the body of pursuing a neo-colonial agenda and unfairly targeting the continent.

President Adama Barrow of Gambia, however, has said the withdrawal proceedings would be stopped.

The opposition part, the Democratic Alliance took to Twitter to celebrate the court ruling.

“We have won in our application to have SA’s withdrawal from the #ICC set aside,” the opposition Democratic Alliance party, which challenged the withdrawal, said on its Twitter feed.

It was not immediately clear whether the government would appeal the court ruling.

The ICC was launched in July 2002 and has 124 member states. It is the first legal body with permanent international jurisdiction to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The decision followed several court judgments that the government violated the law by not arresting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir during his visit to South Africa for an African Union summit in June last year.

Related Articles