AfriForum described the news that Cabinet had appointed a technical task team to ensure that South Africa’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) follows the correct procedures, as proof that Government is persevering on the road against human rights.
This announcement follows a ruling by the North Gauteng High Court on 22 February this year that Government had not followed the correct procedures to withdraw from the ICC. According to information received, the task team’s only aim will be to correct the withdrawal process and not to investigate the wisdom of the withdrawal from the ICC.
According to Alana Bailey, Deputy CEO of AfriForum, Government’s continuation of its withdrawal from the ICC comes down to the fact that, for Government, one incident – namely differences between Government and the ICC in 2016 over the arrest of controversial Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir – weighs more than playing an international role in promoting human rights and preventing war crimes and similar transgressions.
“Withdrawal will create questions about South Africa’s commitment to upholding the rule of law,” she states.
It seemed earlier this year that a large number of African countries would withdraw from the ICC, but even Gambia, who had started with the withdrawal process, later changed its mind. By continuing the withdrawal process, South Africa will become one of a very few countries who do not want to contribute to the ICC’s greater ideal of international accountability.
“That the protection of a person such as Al-Bashir, who has many charges of gross war crimes hanging over his head, weighs more than South Africa’s reputation and these principals, is proof of how greatly the moral compass of the ruling party is off course,” Bailey concludes.