South Africa cancels withdrawal from ICC News
South Africa cancels withdrawal from ICC

South Africa on Tuesday informed the UN [text, PDF] that it is canceling its decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. South Africa’s decision to cancel the withdrawal comes in response to the South African High Court [official website] finding the withdrawal unconstitutional [judgement]. High Court Judge Phineas Mojapelo found that the “decision by the national executive to deliver the notice of withdrawal of South Africa from the Rome Statute of the ICC without prior parliamentary approval is unconstitutional and invalid.” The South African government called the judgement ‘merely procedural’ and said that the government would continue working on leaving the ICC. Those comments by the South African government have created some doubt whether Tuesday’s cancellation of the withdrawal is just temporary or if South Africa intends to stay part of the ICC.

The judgement of the South African High Court blocking the withdrawal [JURIST report] from the ICC was initiated by the opposition party, Democratic Alliance, after the government sough to withdraw from the ICC without approval from parliament. South Africa officially announced [JURIST report] its intent to withdraw from the ICC in October. Also in October, Burundi similarly voted [JURIST report] to withdraw from the ICC amid criticism the court only prosecutes African nationals. In January leaders of multiple African countries announced that they have backed [JURIST report] a “strategy of collective withdrawal” from the ICC.