19 June 2018

Africa: South Africa and the ICC - Dismantling the International Criminal Justice System to Protect One Individual?

analysis

The introduction of the International Crimes Bill before the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services, two weeks ago, signals steadfast resolve to eventually withdraw from the Rome Statute. Is South Africa dismantling its own international criminal justice framework for one man who they will, despite withdrawal, still be legally obligated to arrest and surrender for as long as he remains wanted by the International Criminal Court?

Impetus and momentum for withdrawal was generated by President Omar al-Bashir's 2015 visit and the subsequent fallout from South Africa's failure to arrest him. South Africa finds itself in this quandary because of Bashir.

Just over a year after President Bashir's Sudan 01 plane took off from the Waterkloof Air Force Base, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha announced South Africa's intention to withdraw from the Rome Statute.

The Notice of Withdrawal was sent to the UN secretary-general on 19 October 2016. Subsequent litigation resulted in the revocation of the Notice of Withdrawal due to the government's failure to firstly withdraw the Implementation of the Rome Statute Act (ICC Act) before submitting its notice of withdrawal....

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