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South Africa justice minister submits bill to withdraw from ICC
South Africa justice minister submits bill to withdraw from ICC

The justice minister of South Africa on Thursday submitted a bill to parliament seeking withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. Tshililo Michael Masutha [official profile], the Minister of Justice of South Africa, presented the bill due to the government’s claim [Reuters report] that it interferes with South Africa’s Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act (DIPA) [text, PDF]. A statement from parliament also criticized the ICC for not treating member countries equally. While the government has expressed their criticism of the ICC, this bill is met with opposition. The Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters [party websites] parties both oppose leaving the ICC. There has not been a date set for a final debate or vote on the bill.

South Africa officially announced [JURIST report] its intent to withdraw from the ICC in October. A few days after the announcement, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] criticized [JURIST report] South Africa for the decision. It is not the only country to express a desire to withdraw from the ICC. Shortly after South Africa’s announcement, the Gambian government announced [JURIST report] that it will be leaving the ICC. Earlier in October Burundi voted to withdraw [JURIST report] from the ICC amid criticism the court only prosecutes African nationals. Also in October the ICC president stated [JURIST report] that such withdrawals “represent[s] a setback in the fight against impunity and the efforts towards the objective of universality of the Statute.”