South Africa on Tuesday said it has decided to exit the International Criminal Court due to a “matter of unfair treatment.”
“Yes, the governing party African National Congress (ANC) has taken that decision that it is prudent that South Africa should pull out of the ICC,” Cyril Ramaphosa said at a press conference he co-hosted with President Sauli Niinisto of Finland who is visiting South Africa.
Mr Ramaphosa said the decision to exit the ICC is largely because of the manner in which the ICC has been seen to be dealing with some problems, which he did not name.
“There has also been commentary I believe from Amnesty International where there has been reflection on what many people believe is an unfair treatment and our view is that we will like this matter of unfair treatment to be properly discussed but in the meantime, the governing party has decided once again that there should be a pull out,” he added.
South Africa’s decision is coming one month after the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Russia’s President Vladmir Putin and his Commissioner for Children’s Rights. The announcement also comes ahead of the BRICS summit which South Africa will host.
Mr Putin is expected to attend the summit and as a signee to the ICC, South Africa is expected to detain Russia’s president but would most likely not and has now moved to announce its intention to exit the court.
This is not the first attempt South Africa is making at exiting the ICC. In 2016, it attempted to do so following a dispute a year earlier when Sudan’s then-President Omar al-Bashir visited the country for an African Union summit.
It refused to arrest him despite Mr al-Bashir facing an ICC arrest warrant for alleged war crimes.
The decision to pull out was, however, revoked when a domestic court ruled such a move would have been unconstitutional.
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