President of Rome Statute assembly urges SA to rethink ICC decision

2016-10-24 21:21


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WATCH: SA dumps ICC, turns out it's complicated

2016-10-24 10:40

The International Relations Minister has signed notice for SA to leave the ICC.WATCH

Cape Town - The president of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court says he regrets the South African government's decision to withdraw from the court and has urged the country to reconsider.

Assembly president Sidiki Kaba said in a statement on Saturday that he was disturbed the move could signal a way for other African states to withdraw from the statute.

Burundi has also started processes to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"Although withdrawing from a treaty is a sovereign act, I regret these decisions and invite South Africa and Burundi to reconsider their positions," Kiba said.

"I urge them to work together with other states in the fight against impunity, which often causes massive violations of human rights."

Kaba fears South Africa's withdrawal will weaken the only permanent international criminal court in charge of prosecuting "the most serious crimes that shock the conscience of humanity".

He called on current members to remain active states and for other non-members to ratify the Rome Statute in their domestic parliaments.

DA files papers to ConCourt

Justice Minister Michael Masutha announced on Friday that the government's reason for withdrawing from the ICC was because it conflicted with its obligations to the African Union to grant immunity to its heads of states.

The DA meanwhile filed court papers to the Constitutional Court on Monday.

DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe said in a founding affidavit that Cabinet's move to withdraw from the ICC was unconstitutional, as Parliament needed to vote on the issue first.

Parliament also needed to take a decision to repeal the Implementation Act of 2002 before being able to vote on withdrawing from the ICC, he said.

Masutha told reporters on Monday that he was not in a position to comment on the DA's court papers, and also questioned the need for urgent access given that the withdrawal will only take effect in 12 months.

Selfe addressed that point in the papers, saying the decision not to repeal the Implementation Act of 2002 first will likely mean the Act, which compels Parliament to be a signatory of the Rome Statute, will still be in effect after South Africa leaves the ICC in 12 months.

Having two competing pieces of legislation in effect at the same time was irrational, he said.

Only Parliament, not the executive, can repeal the Implementation Act, he added.

Read more on:    international criminal court  |  da  |  south africa  |  burundi

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