High court rules South Africa's decision to withdraw from ICC "unconstitutional and invalid"

The High Court yesterday ruled the decision "unconstitutional and invalid" and ordered Jacob Zuma led administration to revoke its notice of withdrawal.

 

The court sided with the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), who had moved to court challenging the move arguing that the government had to first seek parliamentary approval before filling for withdrawal.

The Democratic Alliance which has in recent times enjoyed resurgence welcomed the judgment.

"South Africa does not want to be lumped together with pariah states who have no respect for human rights and who do not subscribe to accountability for those guilty of the most heinous human rights violations," the party said in a statement.

"Instead, we should recommit our country to the human rights-based foreign policy spearheaded by the late President Nelson Mandela," the statement added.

South Africa last October notified the United Nations of its intention to leave the international court for what it termed as ICC pursuing a ‘regime change’

This was after it received widespread criticism for its refusal to arrest Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir who has an arrest warrant while he was attending the African Union summit in Johannesburg 2015.

Omar al-Bashir is wanted by ICC for alleged war crimes during the Darfur conflict.

In his response, Justice Minister Michael Masutha said the government still intended to quit the ICC and would consider its options, including a possible appeal, after studying the full judgment, Reuter’s news agency reported.

The court ruling is another blow to Jacob Zuma's team which has now lost three times in a row in legal challenges related to the ICC.

The court order comes on the backdrop of the African Union approving a non-bidding agreement for a mass withdrawal from ICC during its election of a new chairperson held on Feb.

African leaders have accused the hague based court of bias in pursuing crimes against humanity.

For now only Burundi and Namibia are the only two remaining African countries who have intentions to withdrawing from ICC.

Gambia’s new president Adama Barrow instructed ICC to put on hold its earlier withdrawal request made by former president Yahya Jammeh.

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