ICC: DA to approach the ConCourt
23 October 2016
The Democratic Alliance (DA) will tomorrow morning be filing an urgent application for direct access to the Constitutional Court in order to challenge the constitutionality of a notice initiating South Africa’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The decision taken by the South African Government is at odds with the country’s commitment to international justice and human rights, it marks a dramatic decline in South Africa’s standing in the international community.
President Nelson Mandela said South Africa would never again be the "polecat of the world". But the actions of the ANC now are fast reducing South Africa's standing in the global community to that of polecat again. Our indefensible voting record at the United Nations, the intention to withdraw from the ICC, and President Zuma's laughable intention to start a BRICS ratings agency -- are all examples of how this government has reduced our influence and reputation globally.
The withdrawal from the ICC is the ultimate betrayal of our historical commitment to a human-rights based foreign policy. The truth is that under Jacob Zuma, South Africa's foreign policy is increasingly defined by expediency and rogue behaviour.
This is why it must be stopped.
The argument that we will put forward to the Constitutional Court is that:
The notice of withdrawal is in breach of section 231(2) of the Constitution, as it was delivered without first securing a resolution of Parliament authorising South Africa’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute;
It was unconstitutional and unlawful to deliver the notice of withdrawal prior to Parliament having first decided to repeal the Implementation Act;
The notice of withdrawal is procedurally irrational, as it was delivered without any process of consultation with Parliament and the public; and
The notice of withdrawal is a breach of the state’s section 7(2) duty to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights contained in the Bill of Rights.
South Africa’s withdrawal from the ICC sends the message that as a country, with global standing, we do not believe in holding those who commit the most horrendous of acts, such as genocide and war crimes, to account. We are now siding with murderers and dictators from across the globe.
The effectiveness and shortfalls of the ICC should be debated and we should work tirelessly to reform the world body so that it performs its duties without fear, favour or prejudice, but to withdraw from it entirely undermines efforts to safeguard the rights of citizens here at home and of the international community.
Statement issued by DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, 23 October 2016