Masutha holds 'constructive talks' with ICC

2016-11-19 10:00
Justice Minister Michael Masutha following a meeting with the International Criminal Court's president on Friday (Supplied)

Justice Minister Michael Masutha following a meeting with the International Criminal Court's president on Friday (Supplied)

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Johannesburg – A month after announcing South Africa’s intention to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, Justice Minister Michael Masutha held talks with its president.

Masutha and Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi agreed on the importance of discussing problems with the system of international criminal justice, which was aimed at ending impunity for the most serious international crimes, the court said in a statement on Friday.

Masutha visited the institution, in The Hague, earlier in the day.

“Minister Masutha emphasised South Africa’s willingness to continue engaging with the court, as well as with the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute.”

Fernández briefed Masutha on legal and technical issues concerning the court’s functioning.

Their “constructive and open discussion” included the reasons for South Africa’s decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty.

The instrument of withdrawal was deposited with the United Nations on October 19 and would take effect in one year. In the meantime, South Africa remained a state party to the statute. 

Masutha announced on October 21 that South Africa would withdraw from the Rome Statute, due to a conflict between its obligations to the African Union and the ICC, and between the statute and the provisions of the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act, 2001.

The move followed several court rulings that the South African government violated its own laws when it failed to arrest Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir while he was in the country for a two-day AU summit in June 2015. 

The ICC has issued warrants for his arrest and wants him to stand trial on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Read more on:    icc  |  michael masutha  |  johannesburg

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