Ramaphosa: SA not against ICC, but its methods

2016-11-09 22:18
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Pic: Denzil Maregele)

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Pic: Denzil Maregele)

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Cape Town - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says the country's withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) is not a rejection of its principles, but a critique of its methods.

Ramaphosa told MPs in the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday that the government had made its grievances with the ICC known publicly on a number of occasions.

"Our approach to the issue of the ICC is informed by extensive experience of our demands, as well as the challenges of working for peace," he said.

"For the South African government, this is not about theory. It's about practice borne out of experience that we have gathered on the ground."

The country still condemned human rights violations in the strongest terms, he said, and remained committed to the ICC's objectives in principle.

But ultimately, government had an issue with the body's methods in reconciling its obligations to both the AU and the Rome Statute.

12 months to withdraw

"It has therefore become apparent that to continue to be a state party would undermine South Africa's efforts to promote peaceful resolution on the African continent and further afield.

"The withdrawal should be assumed as a critique in which the institution should function, rather than a rejection of its underlying values."

Justice Minister Michael Masutha announced two weeks ago that the country will officially start the process of withdrawing from the ICC.

The decision was met with criticism from many quarters.

The South African Litigation Centre, which brought the original application to the High Court in June 2015 to enforce an ICC arrest warrant on Sudan President Omar al-Bashir when he was in Johannesburg, said the decision marked a sad day for human rights.

Masutha said last week in Parliament that a bill will be tabled before the House in due course, and once passed, will give the country 12 months to officially withdraw.

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