, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 21 – South Africa became the second country to quit the International Criminal Court (ICC) following a formal notice sent to the UN Security Council earlier in the week, days after Burundi made a similar application.
In an application dated October 19, South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane notified the UN Security Council that it would quit the Rome Statute within one year after the application.
- In the application dated October 19, South Africa's International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane notified the UN Security Council that it would quit the Rome Statute within one year.
- "The Republic of South Africa hereby withdraws from the same, such withdraw to take effect one year after the date of receipt of it's by the Secretary-General of the United Nations," the letter indicates.
- Nkoana-Mshabane in the letter accused the ICC of selective justice targeting African States.
“The Republic of South Africa hereby withdraws from the same, such withdrawal to take effect one year after the date of receipt of it’s by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.”
Nkoana-Mshabane in the letter said that its understanding of its obligations as a member State differed with that of the ICC.
“South Africa has found that its obligations with respect to the peaceful resolution of conflicts at times are incompatible with the interpretation given by the ICC of obligations contained in the Rome Statute,” the minister explained.
The row between South Africa and the ICC began about a year ago when the court criticised its government for disregarding a court order to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, when he visited the country.
Bashir, who is wanted by the ICC on genocide charges, left the country after attending an African Union summit in June 2015 despite a court in Pretoria barring his departure and the ICC asking for his arrest.
The ICC then wrote a protest letter tasking South Africa to explain why it failed to arrest Bashir.
A few days later, South Africa’s Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe said the country would consider quitting the Rome Statute. “South Africa may as a last resort … consider withdrawing from the ICC.”
He announced that a panel of ministers would be put together to discuss the dispute with the ICC and consider possible withdrawal from The Hague based court.
South Africa’s decision to quit ICC follows an announcement by Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza who on Tuesday signed a law making Burundi the first country to file it’s withdraw from the Hague based Court.
Kenya is another country that has threatened to quit ICC over similar claims of selective justice as well as dishonourable investigations into the 2008 Post Election Violence.
In January, the African Union summit in Addis Ababa adopted President Uhuru Kenyatta’s proposal for African member States to withdraw from the court.
Since its inception in 2002, the ‘court of last resort’ launched investigations into ten situations – all in Africa.
They include Libya, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Mali and Kenya whose two cases flopped due to lack of evidence.
Out of the 120 parties to the Rome Statute, 33 are from Africa making it the majority of membership.
Should AU members make their threat of quitting the Rome Statute real, ICC will suffer a serious blow over the loss of its majority of its members.