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South Africa parliament backs govt on withdrawal from 'biased' ICC

South Africa parliament backs govt on withdrawal from 'biased' ICC

South Africa

Parliament of the republic of South Africa says it backs the position of the government to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC).

A statement released on Thursday by the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation said it welcomes the withdrawal of the country from the Rome Statute which established the ICC.

“We agree with Justice Minister Mr Michael Masutha’s statement on South Africa’s withdrawal from the ICC this afternoon in the House. For a long time we have witnessed the unevenness of international justice and the lack of universality of application in the manner in which countries are treated,” Mr Siphosezwe Masango chairman of the committe said.

The ICC is biased towards selectively targeting African heads of states. Leaders of the permanent members of the United Nation’s Security Council are never acted against when they transgress.

He cited bias on the part of the ICC in solely targeting African leaders whiles leaders of the UN security council are never hauled before the court despite grave crimes.

“The ICC is biased towards selectively targeting African heads of states. Leaders of the permanent members of the United Nation’s Security Council are never acted against when they transgress,” he added.

Mr Masango disclosed that the repeal process will soon begin, once the Speaker of the National Assembly has referred the matter to relevant parliamentary Committees.

On 19 October, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, handed to the United Nations Secretary-General South Africa’s intention to withdraw. Subsequently, Mr Masutha presented a statement that was discussed in Parliament.

Of the nine cases in front of the ICC currently, eight involve African presidents. Burundi is now waiting for a year after which they will successfully have left the ICC, the first country to leave the body.

The Gambia has also stated that they will be initiating steps to formally exit the Hague-based court. The government also cited selective justice being meted out. South Africa however said their withdrawal is linked to the ICC’s Rome Statutes being at odds with its laws granting leaders diplomatic immunity.

South Africa had before now mooted the idea of dropping its ICC membership following it’s highly controversial failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir during an African Union summit in Johannesburg in June 2015.

On the eve of al-Bashir’s arrival in South Africa, the ICC issued several calls for his arrest to the South African government. It’s in light of this that Jeff Radebe, minister in the presidency, announced that South Africa was reconsidering its participation in the ICC.

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