SA to review participation in ICC - Radebe

Cape Town - Cabinet has decided it will review South Africa’s participation in the International Criminal Court, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said on Thursday.

He was speaking at a post-Cabinet briefing at Parliament.

"South Africa was always a staunch supporter of the establishment of the International Criminal Court and one of the first signatories of the Rome Statute of the [ICC]," said Radebe in a statement.

"It remains committed to a system of international justice to ensure that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished and that their effective prosecution must be ensured by taking measures at the national level and by enhancing international co-operation."

His comments follow the violation of a court order to prevent Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir from leaving the country, allowing him to evade arrest for alleged crimes against humanity.

The ICC had issued warrants of arrest for Al-Bashir - one in 2009 and another in 2010 - for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Sudan's Darfur region.

It was decided at a Cabinet meeting and later published in the Government Gazette that all delegates and staff attending the African Union Summit would enjoy immunity. It did not say heads of state.

The SA government might refer its concerns with the ICC to the International Court of Justice, Radebe said.

He said, however, that withdrawal from the ICC would be a last resort after all other options had been exhausted.

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