Decision on lawfulness of govt's withdrawl from ICC expected

The Democratic Alliance approached the courts last year to have the decision declared unconstitutional.

International Criminal Court (ICC) logo

PRETORIA – Government will on Wednesday morning hear whether its decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) was lawful.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) approached the courts last year to have the decision declared unconstitutional.

Government initiated the withdrawal even after it was found it was legally obligated to implement the Rome Statute and arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir when he attended an African Union summit in Johannesburg.

Government argued that obligations to the ICC undermined the country’s commitments to international relations.

It further claimed there is nothing at international law level which prohibits the executive from notifying the United Nations of its withdrawal from the court before initiating the process in Parliament.

The DA argued that the notice to withdraw was in breach of the Constitution because it was delivered without first obtaining a resolution from Parliament.

It added that the withdrawal was in breach of the state’s duty to respect, protect, promote and fulfill the right contained in the Bill of Rights.

Whichever way the court rules, it’s almost certain either party will appeal as the matter ultimately makes its way to the Constitutional Court.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)