South African Parliament must urgently convene to reconsider the government’s decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute, the founding instrument of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Amnesty International said.
The group added that “South Africa’s sudden notice to withdraw from the ICC is a betrayal to millions of victims of the gravest human rights violations”
Africa’s economic powerhouse is considering withdrawal from the Hague-based Institution according to media reports
A document confirming the withdrawal plan, signed by South Africa’s International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, was published by public broadcaster SABC’s United Nations correspondent.
The “Instrument of Withdrawal” letter said South Africa “found that its obligations with respect to the peaceful resolution of conflicts at times are incompatible with the interpretation given by the International Criminal Court”.
Amnesty International said “South Africa’s sudden notice to withdraw from the ICC is deeply disappointing. In making this move, the country is betraying millions of victims of the gravest human rights violations and undermining the international justice system,” Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for Africa said in a statement.
“South Africa’s support for the ICC, after the country suffered through decades of apartheid, was an important step towards creating rights respecting societies around the world.” he said
The move to withdraw from the court follows non-cooperation procedures against South Africa at the ICC after the country failed to institute a warrant of arrest against Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir when he visited the country in June 2015 to attend the AU Summit.