United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on South Africa to rescind its decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In October, South Africa stunned the world when it announced it has officially initiated the process of withdrawing from the ICC, based at The Hague in the Netherlands, triggering fears of a mass pullout of African States from the Court.
The main point of contention has been the perceived bias of the Court which has made Africa front and centre of its work. To date, all the ICC investigations are located on the African continent and all the individuals indicted by the Court are Africans.
In an exclusive interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), one of his final interviews before leaving office at the end of the month, Ban also called on the parties in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to agree to peaceful transitional measures in presidential election.
While calling for broader dialogue in the DRC as President Joseph Kabila’s presidential mandate ends, the Secretary-General reflected on the several instances where African leaders had refused to cede power when their time had run out.
“It’s very unfortunate and sad that many African leaders are not keeping their promises to work within the provisions of the Constitution,” he said.
“That is why last year and this year during the AU (Africa Union) Summit meeting in Addis Ababa on two occasions, I had publicly stated and urged African leaders that when their constitutional terms come to an end, they should not arbitrarily amend the constitution. They should not cling to power.”
The UN’s image and credibility on questions of Syria and South Sudan has taken a beating over the last several months and Ban said it was a global collective responsibility for all countries to solve such crises.
His successor, former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres takes over the reins at the UN officially on Jan 1.