SA’s ICC exit criticised at seminar

Some say the country’s decision to withdraw from the ICC is a missed opportunity to deal with problems within the organisation.

The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation debating SA's decision to withdraw from the ICC. Picture: Kevin Brandt/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - South Africa’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) could be seen as a missed opportunity to address problems within the organisation.

This was the view of speakers who addressed a Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation seminar in Cape Town yesterday.

Government has started the process to withdraw from the ICC.

Some presenters at the seminar said South Africa’s decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute might hold some positives, as it opened up a much needed discussion around international justice.

But the majority, including the centre’s Hugo van der Merwe, disagreed.

They believe South Africa can still fulfill a meaningful role in conflict resolution on the continent, as part of the ICC.

“The concern now is that we’re giving up on both peace and justice.”

Assistant professor of political science at Indiana University Cyanne Loyle says South Africa could have played a meaningful role in addressing shortcomings within the organisation.

“I feel like there’s more opportunities for African countries to voice that dissent from within the system than trying to withdraw from it all together.”

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha said conditions in the Rome Statute were in conflict with South Africa’s Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act 37 of 2001.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)