This follows the proposition by the South African Government to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, earlier this year, following its stance not to arrest or lay charges against Sudanese President, during his visit to SA in June, last year.
The proposal obviously has solicited opinions from opposition parties, Human Right Watch and other concerned organizations.
On Friday‚ an “Instrument of Withdrawal” emerged that was said to have been sent by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane notifying the United Nations of the country’s intention to withdraw from the Rome Statute.
This would take effect “one year after the receipt of the notification”.
She noted that “in complex and multi-faceted peace negotiations and sensitive post-conflict situations‚ peace and justice must be viewed as complementary and not mutually exclusive”.
SA was “committed to fight impunity and to bring those who commit atrocities and international crimes to justice”.
The country’s intention to withdraw from the statute first emerged as government was defending its failure to take steps to detain Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir during his visit to South Africa in June 2015‚ when there was an ICC warrant for his arrest‚ and despite a high court ruling that it do so.
Mashabane’s letter said that “SA as a founding member of the African Union promotes international human rights”.
Then South African Human Rights Commission chairman Lawrence Mushwana wrote to Nkoana-Mashabane‚ saying that in the absence of an alternative to holding African perpetrators of human rights violations and international crimes accountable for their actions‚ an exit from the ICC will not bode well for the rule of law.
Mushwana‚ at the time‚ said Al-Bashir has been charged by the ICC for crimes against humanity‚ war crimes and genocide‚ allegedly perpetrated against his own people.
He said the attempt to ensure greater accountability by the establishment of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights did not go far enough.
The opposition party Democratic Alliance also weighed in.
It said the “decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) as “astounding”.
The party’s chief whip in the National Assembly‚ John Steenhuisen‚ ?tweeted: “Statute of Rome was codified into RSA law by act of Parliament‚ Mashabane cannot simply withdraw without parliamentary approval- astounding!”
At the time of publishing the address by minister Masutha, was still on.
NB. It been brought to our attention that SA Gvt has withdrawn from International Criminal Court.
The ANC Chief Whip welcomes the decision by the Executive to withdraw from the ICC.
“It is our long held view that the ICC has long diverted from its mandate of being an independent and objective instrument in bringing an end to heinous crimes against humanity and the violation of human rights on the African Continent.
Instead the ICC has allowed non-member states to dictate and interfere with its work to suit their own imperialist agendas,” read the statement from ANC in Parliament.