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Justice minister says South Africa still intends to quit the ICC

Justice minister says South Africa still intends to quit the ICC

South Africa announced its intention to leave the court after the government "refused to detain indicted war criminal Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir at an African Union summit in 2015, despite an ICC warrant for his arrest", NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton explained.

The application requested that the decision of the executive to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, as well as the Notice of Withdrawal sent to the United Nations Secretary-General, be set aside as unconstitutional and invalid.

On Wednesday, the court determined the decision taken by President Jacob Zuma and the minister of justice Michael Masutha to withdraw from The Hague-based court without parliamentary approval amounted to a breach of the separation of powers.

Under the Rome Statute, South Africa as an ICC member has an obligation to arrest anyone sought by the tribunal.

"We feel the executive's decision was misguided and the court stamped the authority against the executive's subversion of the rule of law", says Ngari. While the executive branch has unfettered power to enter into worldwide treaties, in its precedent-setting judgment the court found that it can not withdraw from those same treaties without legislative approval. However, the court's ruling could mean a significant delay in the process, and some legal experts speculate that the government might consider dropping its withdrawal plan ahead of the next presidential elections in 2019. As one of the original supporters of the court, its announcement of withdrawal last October was a major blow to the future of the Netherlands-based court that prosecutes war crimes and crimes against humanity.

"Government will reflect on the reasons for the judgment and decide whether to appeal or not".

More news: NC chefs named James Beard semi-finalists

Is the ICC biased towards Africa?

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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. New Gambian President Adama Barrow, who was inaugurated in January, told Newsweek that he would reverse former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh's decision.

It said the country should not join "pariah states who have no respect for human rights".

The government previously said a withdrawal bill would go to parliament, where the ruling African National Congress party has a majority and likely would approve it. 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.

Late past year, Burundi and the Gambia also announced plans to leave the court, leading to concerns that other states would follow.

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