DA says still doesn't agree with govt's decision to withdraw from ICC

This week Justice Minister Michael Masutha tabled a new bill to facilitate South Africa's withdrawal from ICC and pave the way for the NPA to prosecute international crimes.

FILE: Justice Minister Michael Masutha addresses the media at the GCIS head office in Pretoria on 21 October 2016 to confirm South Africa's decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it still does not agree with government's decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The move gained traction in 2015 when Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was allowed to leave South Africa, despite an ICC warrant for his arrest for war crimes.

Last year the DA mounted a legal challenge against the decision and won. But this week Justice Minister Michael Masutha tabled a new bill to facilitate South Africa's withdrawal and pave the way for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to prosecute international crimes.

Five years ago, the ANC's elective conference took a resolution to withdraw from the ICC.

Masutha will now be able to tell this weekend's ANC conference that action has been taken to withdraw.

DA's James Selfe says while the new bill closes some of the gaps in previous legislation, there are still concerns around the head of the NPA.

“We have a history of people who are politically compliant in that position. And that doesn't fill us with any great confidence that in fact that this bill will achieve the objectives that have been specified in the Rome Statute.

The DA says it will again be taking legal advice on the new bill, before considering its next move.