ICC laws inconsistent with ours - SA govt

Minister says bill proposing repeal of the implementation of the Rome Statute will soon be tabled in Parliament

ICC laws inconsistent with ours - SA government

21 October 2016

Pretoria - The South African government says a move to withdraw from the International Criminal Court and its obligations to the Rome Statute is part of ensuring that the country's international law obligations are properly aligned with domestic law.

"The implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act, 2002 is in conflict with and inconsistent with the provisions of the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act of 2001," said Justice Minister Michael Masutha at a media briefing in Pretoria.

He said a bill proposing the repeal of the implementation of the Rome Statute will soon be tabled in Parliament, explaining that a letter has already been sent to the Speaker of the National Assembly and chairperson of the National Council of Provinces.

South Africa has already notified the United Nations of its intention and will have to wait for a year before its withdrawal takes effect. In this period it will be held by its obligations under the Rome Statute.

SA is the second African country to withdraw this week, following hot on the heels of Burundi.

On Wednesday President Pierre Nkurunziza confirmed that Burundi had signed legislation to make it the first country on the African continent to withdraw from the international court. Masutha said South Africa's decision had nothing to do with Burundi.

Al-Bashir ruling stands

"This has been in the making for a year, it's just a coincidence that it's happening in the same week," he told journalists.

Masutha also announced that government has opted to withdraw its application for leave to appeal the decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal regarding the matter of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, stating that the ruling stands.

Masutha, however, had no answers on the way forward in terms of consequences for those found responsible for allowing al-Bashir to leave SA, in spite of a court order barring his exit from the country.

Masutha said there was uncertainty around customary international law in relation to diplomatic immunity versus those who were wanted for serious violations of human rights.

"We don't want to be part of laws that force regime change," said Masutha.

This article first appeared on News24, see here