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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

South Africa cabinet abides by court
ruling over ICC withdrawal: minister

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- The South African cabinet abides by a court ruling over the country’s intended withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC), a cabinet minister said Thursday.

The cabinet had noted the ruling by the North Gauteng High Court, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said at a press briefing in Cape Town after a cabinet meeting.

The court ruled in late February that the government’s notice to withdraw from the ICC is “unconstitutional and invalid” without prior parliamentary approval.

In October last year, the South African government began the process of withdrawing from the ICC. A written notice was submitted to then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

South Africa is hindered by the Rome Statute under which the ICC was established, as it compels the country to arrest people who may enjoy diplomatic immunity but who are wanted by the ICC, the government has said.

In 2015, South Africa rejected an ICC request to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir when he was attending the 25th African Union Summit in Johannesburg.

The South African government argues that in addition to complying with its obligations to the ICC, the country has obligations to the AU, which rules that no organization can arrest any sitting head of state of African countries.

The SA government says implementation of the Rome Statute is also in conflict and inconsistent with provisions of the country’s Diplomatic Immunities & Privileges Act.

The ICC was established to prosecute cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

           

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