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How to leave the ICC


(File: ANC)

Cape Town – Withdrawing South Africa from the International Criminal Court (ICC) would not be easy, according to Lawyers for Human Rights.

Lawyer Wayne Ncube said because Parliament had promulgated it into legislation, the first step would be setting aside the Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act 27. This involved public hearings and debates on repealing the law.

The Rome Statute establishes the ICC’s functions, jurisdiction and structure.

The State then had to give 12 months written notice to the United Nations secretary general of its intention to withdraw. Only then could the South African legislation be changed, Ncube said.

Ncube’s comments come after the ANC over the weekend resolved the country had to start the process of withdrawing from the ICC because “the court had lost its direction”. The decision was taken during the party’s national general council.

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However, withdrawal would not absolve South Africa of its responsibilities.

According to Article 27 of the Rome Statute, even if a state had withdrawn from the ICC, it still had a duty to cooperate.

“A state shall not be discharged, by reason of its withdrawal, from the obligations arising from this statute while it was a party to the statute, including any financial obligations which may have accrued.

“Its withdrawal shall not affect any cooperation with the court in connection with criminal investigations and proceedings in relation to which the withdrawing state had a duty to cooperate and which were commenced prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective; nor shall it prejudice in any way the continued consideration of any matter which was already under consideration by the court prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective.”

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