- Title: South Africa to quit war crimes court - justice minister
- Date: 21st October 2016
- Summary: JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (FILE - JUNE 14, 2015) (REUTERS) ****WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VARIOUS OF SOUTH AFRICA PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA LEADING OTHER AFRICAN HEADS OF STATE INTO THE PHOTO OP DURING THE AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT SUDANESE PRESIDENT, OMAR AL-BASHIR SMILING AND GREETING OTHER AFRICAN HEADS OF STATE MORE OF SOUTH AFRICA PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA VARIOUS OF AFRICAN HEADS OF STATE TAKING A PHOTO
- Embargoed: 5th November 2016 11:48
- Keywords: ICC rome statute south africa withdrawal
- Location: PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA
- City: PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00254Y5ZD3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: South Africa is pulling out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) because the tribunal's obligations are inconsistent with the country's laws which give sitting leaders diplomatic immunity, Justice Minister Michael Masutha said on Friday.
Pretoria said last year it planned to leave the ICC after it was criticised for ignoring a court order to arrest Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who is accused of genocide and war crimes, when he visited. Bashir has denied the accusations.
The document was signed by South Africa's Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and dated October 19.
Masutha said to ensure South Africa's continued ability to conduct active diplomatic relations, a bill to repeal South Africa's adoption of the ICC's Rome Statute would soon be brought to parliament.
"A written notice to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court has been submitted to the Secretary General of the United Nations in accordance with Article 127 -1 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court," he said.
Masutha told reporters in the capital Pretoria that implementation of the statute was "in conflict and inconsistent with" South Africa's Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act.
"An application for leave to appeal the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal has sat down for hearing at the Constitutional Court on 22 November 2016 will now be withdrawn. This is so especially as the Supreme Court of Appeal has removed the uncertainty around customary international law in relation to diplomatic immunity insofar as it affects heads of States and others who maybe wanted for serious violations of Human Rights and other serious crimes but who enjoy diplomatic immunity under international customary law," Masutha explained.
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.
Several African countries have expressed concern that the focus of the Hague-based court has been on Africa rather than elsewhere in the world.
- Copyright Holder: FILE REUTERS (CAN SELL)
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None