DA to approach Constitutional Court over ICC withdrawal

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is set to take the Governments’ decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court to the Constitutional Court.

DA Leader Mmusi Maimane said they will be filling for an urgent application for direct access to the Constitutional Court in order to challenge the decision taken by the cabinet.

“The decision taken by the South African Government is at odds with the county’s commitment to international justice and human rights, it marks  a dramatic decline in South Africa’s standing in the international community,” said Maimane.

On Wednesday, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane begun the process of withdrawing from the ICC and notified the United Nations (UN) about the move on Thursday, citing the court’s perceived biases against African states as a reason for the exit.

The document also highlights the dilemma the country faced last year when Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visited Johannesburg for an African Union summit.

Last week Maimane said the country’s withdrawal from the ICC cannot be cleared without approval from the National Legislature.

And later said they will be approaching the court to have Nkoana-Mashabane’s decision to withdraw from the ICC rendered “unconstitutional, irrational and procedurally flawed”.

However during a media briefing Justice Minister Michael Masutha said the approval of the National Legislature is not required before the executive enters or exits from international agreements.

Maimane said to withdraw from the ICC entirely undermines the efforts to safeguard the right of citizens both here in South Africa and internationally.

“South Africa’s withdrawal from the ICC sends the message that as a country, with global standing, we do not believe in holding those who commit the most horrendous of acts, such as genocide and war crimes, to account. We are now siding with murderers and dictators from across the globe,” said Maimane.

He added they want the constitutional to render the decision as “irrational” and that the Minister was supposed to communicate with the Parliament before taking the decision.

The United Nations has since confirmed receipt of South Africa’s notice. The process is expected to take up to a year before a total withdrawal is completed.

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