South Africa backtracks on president’s claim to leave Int Criminal Court

26.04.2023, 10:38
South Africa backtracks on president’s claim to leave Int Criminal Court - Photo
President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo via EPA

The South African presidential administration has denied the country’s intention to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, as had been previously announced by its leader.

Earlier this week, Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa wanted to leave the Rome Statute, upon which The Hague-based court is founded, "due to the court's bias in certain situations."

His administration later issued an official statement denying his words.

It stressed that South Africa remains a member of the ICC and was working on a legislative amendment that would incorporate the Rome Statute into the country's domestic legislation.

"The President wishes to clarify that South Africa remains a signatory to the ICC. This clarification comes after a mistake in a comment made during a media briefing," the South African presidential administration clarified.

South Africa is to host a summit in August, to which Russian president Vladimir Putin has been invited.

In March, the ICC issued a life-long arrest warrant for Mr Putin on suspicion of illegally moving thousands of Ukrainian children from occupied territories,

The warrant obliges every party to the Rome Statute, including South Africa, to arrest him and send to the Hague for a trial.

South Africa once tried to leave the Rome Statute in 2016, when visited by the-then president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, also wanted by the ICC.

While Mr al-Bashir was never arrested, a South African court later ruled that the withdrawal from the ICC was unconstitutional.

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