South Africa to leave ICC: reports

A South African deputy minister said Oct. 10 that the nation will leave the International Criminal Court (ICC), opining that the court has "lost its direction." Following criticism for ignoring an ICC directive to arrest the president of Sudan, Obed Bapela of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) told reporters that South Africa will continue to uphold "the flag of human rights" independent of the ICC. Bapela indicated that powerful ICC member nations "trample" human rights and pursue "selfish interests," and some African leaders have questioned the ICC's indictment of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir as being another in a long line of decisions biased against Africans.

In March the ICC requested assistance from the UN Security Council in affecting the arrest of Bashir. In asking the Council to take "necessary measures" to force Sudan to comply with the ICC investigation, the court noted that without such assistance, the Council's decision to request an investigation into Bashir in 2005 would "never achieve its ultimate goal." Bashir spent two days in South Africa in mid-June, during which time a judge for South Africa's highest court issued an order barring Bashir from leaving the country.

From Jurist, Oct. 13. Used with permission.

Note: Bashir was allowed to leave South Africa despite the court order, eliciting protests from some of the country's most respected figures, including Justice Malala and Desmond Tutu. (AFP, June 17; The Guardian, June 16) Bashir last appeared publicly outside Sudan when he was in Beijing last month for the Victory Day celebrations.