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South Africa revokes notice to withdraw from the ICC

Journalists for Justice / 09 March 2017

 

Burundi is the only country with a notice to withdraw from the treaty that creates the International Criminal Court after South Africa revoked its notification.

South Africa’s decision, published after the High Court found its earlier action to be unconstitutional, comes on the back of a similar revocation of notice by The Gambia after a new government took office (http://www.jfjustice.net/en/complementarity/gambia-rescinds-decision-to-withdraw-from-the-icc).

Last year, Burundi, South Africa and the Gambia formally notified to the Secretary General of the United Nations that they intended to withdraw from the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC. Their actions dominated the 15th Assembly of States Parties to the ICC at The Hague, creating the opportunity for African states to forcefully make demands for concessions from world court (http://www.jfjustice.net/en/complementarity/african-states-push-for-heads-of-state-immunity-at-the-icc).

Early this year, the African Union formally adopted a continent-wide ‘ICC mass withdrawal strategy’ (http://www.jfjustice.net/en/complementarity/clouds-of-smoke-and-no-fire-in-au-s-icc-withdrawal-strategy) during its summit in Addis Ababa, but decisions on pulling out were still left to individual nations.

South Africa served notice to pull out of the ICC after the court hauled it over the coals for hosting Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir for an AU summit in Johannesburg last year and failing to arrest him on the strength of an ICC warrant. Burundi, on the other hand, served notice to pull out of the ICC is response to the Chief Prosecutor’s decision to launch a preliminary investigation into claims of human rights violations in the country. Gambia’s reasons for pulling out of the ICC were given as the court’s bias and failure to charge former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for unspecified crimes against humanity.

 

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