South African still plans to withdraw from the ICC- Masutha

Katie RamirezFeb 23, 2017

It also called for Part of the reforms it expected to see in the ICC was "regionalization" of worldwide law, a reference to proposals for an African war crimes court.

It was the second blow in less than two weeks to the emerging mutiny against the worldwide court.

The North Gauteng High Court has instructed the president and two cabinet ministers to revoke South Africa's withdrawal notice from the International Criminal Court. The ICC had a warrant for Bashir's arrest.

Last October, South Africa chose to withdraw from the Hague-based ICC, arguing the court's rules were "in conflict and inconsistent with" the country's diplomatic immunity law.

On October 21, Justice Minister Michael Masutha told reporters that SA had initiated the process of withdrawing from the ICC by notifying the United Nations of its intention to revoke its ratification of the Rome Statute, the ICC's founding treaty. However, newly elected Gambian President Adama Barrow has said he will reverse his predecessor's decision and keep the country in the ICC.

Wednesday's decision in Pretoria high court was largely expected as Mojapelo had already told government lawyers during a previous hearing that he was concerned that officials had exceeded their constitutional powers. South Africa resisted pressure to arrest him, arguing he had diplomatic immunity. As one of the original supporters of the court, its announcement of withdrawal last October was a major blow to the future of the Netherlands-based court that prosecutes war crimes and crimes against humanity.

"What is so pressing for the national executive about the withdrawal. which can not wait for our legislative processes to take their course?" the court's ruling said. The court ordered President Jacob Zuma, Nkoana-Mashabane and Justice Minister Michael Masutha to revoke the notice.

Masutha said that the government was now considering whether to appeal the ruling which he said was merely a delay in the withdrawal process.

The ICC has had to fight off allegations of pursuing a neo-colonial agenda in Africa, where most of its investigations have been based.

The DA contended that parliament's approval was required before the notice could be delivered to the UN.

The court did not rule on whether or not South Africa should withdraw from the treaty.

It's an important ruling for worldwide justice both in South Africa and beyond.

South Africa is not the only country that have announced to exit the ICC, Burundi and Gambia in the days of Yahaya Jameh has announced to leave. Shortly before the court ruling on Wednesday, parliament began asking for public submissions on the ICC issue.

South Africa's largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, praised the High Court's decision. "In other words, South Africa's global law obligations are not dependent on the Rome Statute and vice versa", Mojapelo said.

It said the country should not join "pariah states who have no respect for human rights".

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