ANC under fire over ICC
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”.