South African opposition protests ICC withdrawal in court

The Democratic Alliance party has begun legal proceedings against the government's decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court. The ICC has faced criticism that it unfairly targets Africa.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma (left) has disregarded ICC's calls for Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir (right) to be arrested over war crimes and genocide allegations.

South Africa’s main opposition party has begun legal proceedings in its constitutional court, challenging the state's decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Pretoria last week announced its departure from the ICC, saying that membership conflicted with its diplomatic immunity laws.

"The notice of withdrawal is in breach [...] of the Constitution, as it was delivered without first securing a resolution of Parliament authorising South Africa’s withdrawal," the Democratic Alliance party (DA) said in a statement setting out its legal argument on Monday.


South African Justice Minister Michael Masutha announced South Africa's decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) on October 21, 2016. (AFP)

The ICC is the first legal body with permanent global jurisdiction to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes but has secured only five verdicts in 14 years, all of them on Africans. This has led to criticism that it unfairly targets Africa.

Pretoria's intention to leave the 124-member strong organisation was sparked after the ICC expressed displeasure that President Jacob Zuma's government failed to arrest Sudanese President Omar Bashir in June, last year. Bashir, who is accused of war crimes and genocide, was attending an African Union summit in Johannesburg.  

South Africa is not the first African country to leave the ICC, with Burundi signing a decree to leave the council last week, and Kenya considering leaving.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies