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South African Justice Minister Michael Masutha in November submitted a bill to the parliament to withdraw from the Rome Statute, the official agreement which created the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 1998.
Parliament has not yet voted on the bill.
High Court Judge Phineas Mojapelo called the government’s intent to withdraw from the ICC “unconstitutional and invalid” because it appeared to bypass parliament.
South Africa has since it’s hosting of the African Union Summit last year complained that the ICC is unfair in the way it treats African governments and is incompatible with Pretoria’s peace initiatives on the continent.
This comes particularly following the visit of Sudanese president Omar Bashir to Johannesburg in June 2015 to attend the 25th AU Summit despite an international warrant for his arrest issued by the ICC on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the Darfur conflict in 2009.
At the time the ICC strongly criticised the government of President Jacob Zuma for not arresting Bashir.
The opposition Democratic Alliance had filed the court case against the government’s withdrawal bid.
Masutha said that the government was now considering whether to appeal the ruling which he said was merely a delay in the withdrawal process.
The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies