South Africa says she is leaving the international criminal court. Is this to save President Jacob Zuma and his Presidency? This makes it the second country this month, after Burundi, to make a move to leave the tribunal that pursues the world’s worst atrocities.
The ICC’s obligations are inconsistent with domestic laws giving sitting leaders diplomatic immunity, the country’s justice minister, Michael Masutha, said.
Pretoria said last year it planned to leave the ICC after receiving criticism for ignoring a court order to arrest the visiting Sudanese president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who is accused of genocide and war crimes. Bashir has denied the accusations.
On Friday at a press conference in the capital, Masutha said: The implementation of the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court Act 2002 is in conflict and inconsistent with the provisions of the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act 2001.
Under the Rome statute, countries have a legal obligation to arrest anyone sought by the tribunal. Any move to leave would take effect one year after notice is formally received by the United Nations secretary general, currently Ban Ki-moon. If there is a new Government and President in South Africa, would the country leave the ICC?