ANC un­der fire over ICC

Lesotho Times - - Africa -

CAPE TOWN — The Afrifo­rum on Mon­day crit­i­cised the ANC’S de­ci­sion at its Na­tional Gen­eral Coun­cil to with­draw South Africa from the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court (ICC).

“With­drawal from ICC is a step back­wards into the swamp of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tion and un­ac­count­abil­ity,” Afrifo­rum said.

Ear­lier this year in June, Su­danese Pres­i­dent Omar al-bashir left the coun­try af­ter at­tend­ing the African Union Sum­mit in South Africa, flout­ing an ICC war­rant for his ar­rest and a lo­cal court or­der.

Con­sid­er­ing the events that un­folded ear­lier this year, Alana Bai­ley, AfriFo­rum Deputy CEO said the ANC an­nounce­ment was “no sur­prise”.

Ex­press­ing con­cern over how the ANC tends to “avoid na­tional and in­ter­na­tional ac­count­abil­ity and move away from a cul­ture of the pro­tec­tion of hu­man rights,” Bai­ley said the “with­drawal from the ICC also en­tails with­drawal from the Rome Statute by means of which the ICC had been es­tab­lished”.

She pointed out how the Rome Statute “iden­ti­fies four cat­e­gories of in­ter­na­tional crimes that could be pros­e­cuted by the court, namely geno­cide, crimes against hu­man­ity, war crimes and the crime of ag­gres­sion”.

South Africa signed the statute in 1998 and it was rat­i­fied in 2000.

Bai­ley noted how “Apart from the fact that the with­drawal in­volves a com­pli­cated process, it also sends a pow­er­ful mes­sage to the na­tional and in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity that South Africa treats the pro­tec­tion of hu­man rights with con­tempt”.

Trac­ing how “South Africa votes in the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, the pro­tec­tion of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tors like al-bashir and Mu­gabe, and now this de­ci­sion by the rul­ing party in­creas­ingly brands South Africa as a coun­try which is an en­emy of hu­man rights”.

Bai­ley said within the coun­try, there was al­ready con­tempt for the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor’s find­ings and de­plored “the way in which con­sti­tu­tional watch­dog in­sti­tu­tions are paral­ysed by mis­man­age­ment, cor­rup­tion and cadre de­ploy­ment”.

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