21 October 2016
The Africa Group for Justice and Accountability (AGJA) notes with deep concern the South African government’s declaration that it has given notice to the United Nations of its withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The AGJA adds its serious concern at the government’s announcement that it will seek the repeal of the Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act.
South Africa is an indispensable ally of international justice and the ICC. It played a leading role in the creation of the Court and has been a key supporter of the institution since the ICC became a functioning reality in 2002. The South African government’s tradition of supporting human rights and as a leading voice on accountability would be undermined by a withdrawal from the ICC.
The Africa Group also urges that any space for reconsideration of withdrawal can and should be explored. It further calls on the Parliament to reject any repeal of the Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act. The Africa Group supports the work of all domestic legal groups in guaranteeing that any process of withdrawal is democratic, legitimate, and reflects the will and interest of the South African people.
The AGJA further implores African states, and civil society groups in the country to engage and work with South Africa, encouraging the government to retain its membership in the ICC and maintain its position as a leader in the global fight for justice and accountability.
The AGJA stresses that the concerns of all ICC member-states can be heard and considered at the Assembly of States Parties as well as other appropriate legal and diplomatic channels. In line with its mandate and its Kilimanjaro Principles, the Africa Group offers its expertise as well as its mediation and facilitation capacities to South Africa, the ICC, and all other relevant actors.
The members of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability:
- Dapo Akande (Nigeria)
Professor of Public International Law, University of Oxford
- Femi Falana (Nigeria)
Human rights activist and lawyer
- Hassan Bubacar Jallow (Gambia)
Former Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals
- Richard Goldstone (South Africa)
Former Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia
- Tiyanjana Maluwa (Malawi)
H. Laddie Montague Chair in Law, Pennsylvania State University School of Law
- Athaliah Molokomme (Botswana)
Attorney General of Botswana
- Betty Kaari Murungi (Kenya)
Independent Consultant on Human Rights and Transitional Justice
- Mohamed Chande Othman (Tanzania)
Chief Justice of Tanzania
- Navi Pillay (South Africa)
Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Catherine Samba-Panza (Central African Republic)
Former Transitional President of the Central African Republic
- Fatiha Serour (Algeria)
Director of Serour Associates for Inclusion and Equity
- Abdul Tejan-Cole (Sierra Leone)
Executive Director of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa