SA govt’s plans to withdraw from ICC revived

Justice Minister Michael Masutha retracted the decision in March, after a legal challenge.

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

CAPE TOWN – Government’s plan to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been revived.

Justice Minister Michael Masutha retracted the decision in March, after a legal challenge.

But his department has now tabled the International Crimes Bill that will allow for current legislation on the Rome Statute to be repealed.

South Africa caused an international incident in 2015 when it let Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir leave the country, despite the International Criminal Court issuing a warrant for his arrest for war crimes.

[From the archives] LISTEN: ICC: Arrest Omar al-Bashir if he sets foot in SA again

Soon after, the government said that it planned to withdraw from the ICC.

In its motivation for the new International Crimes Bill, the Justice Department says the Rome Statute is in conflict with customary international law and certain provisions of the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act.

The bill aims to regulate immunity from prosecution of international crimes.

These are defined as a crime against humanity, a war crime and genocide.

The bill will give South African courts jurisdiction to hear international crime cases.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)