Zuma, Masutha to respond to ICC court challenge

Pretoria - The High Court in Pretoria is expected to hear arguments from government on Tuesday on reasons for wanting to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Representatives for President Jacob Zuma, Justice Minister Michael Masutha, the National Assembly speaker, the chair of the National Council of Provinces as well as the Department of International Relations and Co-operation are expected to address the court.

This comes a day after the Democratic Alliance and Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) presented arguments against government’s decision to withdraw from the ICC.

Last month the Constitutional Court dismissed the party's application for direct access to challenge the decision.

On October 21, Justice Minister Michael Masutha told reporters that South Africa had initiated the process of withdrawing from the ICC by notifying the United Nations of its intention to revoke its ratification of the Rome Statute, which established the ICC.

The decision followed several court judgments that the government violated the law by not arresting ICC-indicted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir during his visit to South Africa in June last year.

At the time, the High Court in Pretoria handed down an order instructing the government to prevent Bashir from leaving South Africa while he was in Johannesburg for a two-day AU summit.

The SALC brought the application. The ICC wanted Bashir to stand trial on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

The court ruled that failure to prevent him from leaving was unconstitutional. Despite this, the government allowed him to leave from Air Force Base Waterkloof.

Government was denied leave to appeal the ruling.

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