ICC exit to create 'peace' & 'stability' in Africa - Masutha

Justice Minister Michael Masutha says that some heads of state cannot enter the country due to ICC laws.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Justice Minister Michael Masutha has emphasised that South Africa's decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is aimed at creating peace and stability on the continent.

On Friday, government announced that it had submitted a notice to the United Nations, informing it of its intention to withdraw from the ICC.

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

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

Masutha says there are other heads of state besides al-Bashir who cannot enter the country due to these laws.

He says the country's international diplomatic system is being held to ransom.

"We've engaged on matters of mutual developmental interests. They are unable to come to South Africa because we cannot guarantee that this country will not invoke provisions in our domestic law or the ICC Statute itself."

LISTEN: _ICC reacts to SA's announcement _

Meanwhile, DA Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Stevens Mokgalapa says the South African government has veered off the country's human rights foreign policy.

"There is nothing within the Rome Statute that prohibits us from peace in Africa. I think the withdrawal from the ICC is contrary from what we stand for in terms of peace and conflict resolution."