'Executive has prerogative to withdraw from ICC'

Michael Masutha says parliamentary approval wasn't needed to withdraw from the Rome Statute.

FILE: Justice Minister Michael Masutha. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

PRETORIA - Justice Minister Michael Masutha says the executive did not need parliamentary approval before deciding to withdraw from the Rome Statute.

The minister has been speaking in Pretoria after the announcement that South Africa is withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The decision follows several court rulings which found government was obliged to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir when he attended the African Union summit in Johannesburg last June.

Al-Bashir fled the country in direct contravention of a court order.

Masutha says in terms of the Constitution, the executive has the authority to negotiate international agreements.

"Given the prerogative of the executive to enter into international agreements, it is equally the prerogative of the executive to withdraw from such agreements."

He says Parliament has been informed of the decision.

"We have informed the Speaker and the chair of the NCOP of the executive decision, but also requested the Speaker to allow us an opportunity to make a ministerial statement in the assembly."

A bill will now be tabled to repeal the implementation of the Rome Statute.