The President of South Africa is still considering pulling South Africa out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as he believes the country cannot continue in the Roman statute.
In 2015, the International Criminal Court indicted Omar Al-Bashir, president of Sudan of alleged war crimes. Mr Bahir who was in South Africa for the AU summit should have been arrested by the South African government. However, the South African government did not oblige and allowed Mr Bashir to leave the country stating that under African Union ( AU) rule, no sitting head of state could be arrested.
The ICC was one of the topics discussed at the African Union Summit. Many African leaders pondered on the way the ICC has conducted itself in relations with Africans and African countries. The ICC which primarily tries individuals for war crimes and crimes against humanity has at numerous times, come under criticism for targeting only Africans. Other African countries like Namibia have also put forth their desire to leave the ICC.
“Our strongly held view is that it is now impossible, under the circumstances, for South Africa to continue its participation in the Rome Statute”.
“South Africa is seriously reviewing its participation in the Rome Statute and will announce its decision in due course,” South African president, Jacob Zuma allegedly made this statement at the just concluded 26th African Union Summit.
“Africa feels very disappointed with the way business is conducted in the ICC. With 34 of the 54 of our (AU) member states being members of the Rome Statute, we thought that was to show that Africans do not want and do not believe in impunity. However, what we are observing is more and more of what is called an ‘African criminal court’,” said South African minister of International Relations and Cooperation Mait Nkoana-Mashabane
South Africa was the first African country to join the ICC in 1998. It was a country torn by the gruesomeness of Apartheid. If the country eventually leaves the ICC, it would be the first to do so.
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