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Government to study ICC ruling

Pretoria said past year it planned to leave the ICC after receiving criticism for ignoring the court's order to arrest the visiting Sudanese president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who is accused of genocide and war crimes, in June 2015.

The ICC had issued warrants for his arrest and wanted him to stand trial on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

A South African court has ruled that the country's bid to withdraw from the International Criminal Court is "unconstitutional and invalid", in a stark rebuke to the government of President Jacob Zuma.

South African Minister of justice, Michael Masutha on Wednesday said the country still plans to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The opposition Democratic Alliance party, which filed the suit, said the ruling was a "victory for the rule of law".

South Africa, however, remains the heavyweight in the African mutiny against the ICC.

It is likely that government lawyers will appeal this decision, and apply for urgent access to the Constitutional Court to do so.

Victims' only hope for justice is to be heard in court, he said, and urged the Kenyan government to support the court and embrace an global justice system, according to a Hivisasa report.

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A full bench led by Deputy Judge President Phineas Mojapelo ordered the government to revoke its notice to withdraw with immediate effect.

Backers of the court were dismayed by South Africa's move to withdraw, especially after former President Nelson Mandela had been a strong advocate for the court's creation.

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

In 2016, Burundi, South Africa and The Gambia, expressed their intentions to withdraw from the court. Gambia's President Adama Barrow, elected in December, said earlier this month that the tiny West African nation would remain in the ICC.

The court noted that the power to coordinated matters as regards treaties rest on the Executive but must get approval from the parliament before doing so.

Gambia and Burundi also announced previous year that they were withdrawing from the court, but Gambia's new leader reversed that decision earlier this month.

"South Africa is now out of step with other progressive and democratic African countries who have reaffirmed their commitment to the ICC", the DA said in a statement. "South Africa does not want to be lumped together with pariah states who have no respect for human rights", the Democratic Alliance said.

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