Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has repeated the government’s decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
He was responding to questions from members of the National Council of Provinces on a range of issues on Wednesday.
The DA’s Chris Hattingh asked whether the departure of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir from the Waterkloof Airforce Base had had any negative impact on South African’s international relations and on the decision to withdraw from the ICC.
“We have publicly and repeatedly expressed concern about manner in which the ICC functions. Most recently South Africa used the mechanism of consultation available under article 97 of the Rome Statute to raise the difficulty it has in reconciling its obligations in terms of the statute and its obligations of the African Union‚” said Ramaphosa.
Last week justice minister Michael Masutha presented a bill in parliament to start the process to repeal the country’s membership of the International Criminal Court and Rome Statutes.
Ramaphosa was rather well received by NCOP delegates‚ unlike on previous occasions where he was interrupted repeatedly by opposition party MPs.
Ramaphosa said that despite numerous engagements‚ the principal issue the country raised about the ICC had not been addressed.
“It has therefore become apparent that to continue to be a state party to the Rome Statute would undermine South Africa’s efforts to promote the peaceful resolution of conflict both on the African continent and further afield.”
He said the withdrawal from the ICC could therefore be understood as a “critique of the manner in which the institution has functioned”.
Ramaphosa outlined that the Rome Statute establishing the ICC was incompatible with the country’s domestic laws regarding immunity for visiting foreign heads of state and government that may be subject to investigations by the ICC.