South Africa High Court Rejects Attempt to Withdraw from ICC

South Africa's withdrawal announcement followed a 2015 dispute over a visit by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the ICC for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur. Bashir was in South Africa at an African Union summit.

The Democratic Alliance has been vindicated by the High Court in Pretoria's ruling that revokes government's decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), DA chairperson James Selfe told journalists on Wednesday.

Zuma's Justice Minister Michael Masutha said he would forge ahead with its decision to leave the ICC, as the court only struck the decision down based on procedural rules.

South Africa's largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, praised the High Court's decision. South Africa resisted pressure to arrest him, arguing he had diplomatic immunity.

In its withdrawal notice, South Africa complained that its legal obligations to the worldwide court were sometimes "incompatible" with the "peaceful resolution of conflicts". Because the decision was made so quickly, and without approval from Parliament, that notice of withdrawal is unconstitutional, and must be revoked. He said the government would decide how to proceed, including a possible appeal, after reading the full judgement.

The ICC has had to fight off allegations of pursuing a neo-colonial agenda in Africa, where most of its investigations have been based.

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"As a new government that has committed itself to the promotion of human rights... we reaffirm Gambia's commitment to the principles enshrined in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court", the new government of President Adama Barrow said in a statement this month.

"It's expected that the executive go back to parliament".

Under the rules of the court's treaty, a withdrawal does not take effect until a year after a notice has been submitted to the United Nations.

Late a year ago, Burundi and the Gambia also announced plans to leave the court, leading to concerns that other states would follow. But the ANC, which has ruled South Africa since 1994 after the end of the Apartheid era, has shown signs of cracking under Zuma's scandal-plagued leadership.

They are accusing ICC of focusing on human right abuse in Africa while neglecting. "In other words, South Africa's worldwide law obligations are not dependent on the Rome Statute and vice versa", Mojapelo said.

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