ICC asks SA, Burundi to reconsider withdrawal
THE HAGUE — The International Criminal Court on Saturday asked South Africa and Burundi to reconsider their decisions to withdraw from the troubled institution set up to try the world’s worst crimes.
“Although withdrawing from a treaty is a sovereign act, I regret these decisions and invite South Africa and Burundi to reconsider their positions,” said Sidiki Kaba, president of the assembly of state parties to the ICC founding treaty.
“I urge them to work together with other States in the fight against impunity, which often causes massive violations of human rights,” Kaba said in a statement.
The statement came a day after South Africa dealt a major blow to the court by announcing it would withdraw from the ICC.
The announcement followed a dispute last year when Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visited the country despite being the subject of an ICC arrest warrant over alleged war crimes.
Earlier this month, Burundi said it would leave the court, while Namibia and Kenya have also raised the possibility.
The ICC, set up in 2002, is often accused of bias against Africa and has also struggled with a lack of co-operation, including from the United States which has signed the court’s treaty but never ratified it.
Kaba said he was concerned that South Africa and Burundi’s decisions would “pave the way” for other African states to leave the court, which is tasked with “prosecuting the most serious crimes that shock the conscience of humanity, namely genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression”. — AFP