South Africa could help counter the global vacuum of respect for international law by supporting the International Criminal Court, says former Justice Richard Goldstone, who with Judge Navi Pillay has urged Justice Minister Michael Masutha not to withdraw the country from The Hague-based court.
Differences within government and the ANC about South Africa’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court could mean that the parliamentary process now under way might yet come to naught – but don’t expect much open debate on this before next year’s general elections.
Justice Minister Michael Masutha has admitted that the Brics summit in Johannesburg last month “almost collapsed” because a group of South African lawyers threatened legal action against some heads of state attending the gathering.
At a crucial point in time, when South Africa’s longstanding commitment to the International Criminal Court (ICC) hangs in the balance, and many countries across Africa and other parts of the world are looking on with real interest at the direction it will take, the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability (AGJA) and the Wayamo Foundation held a one-day public symposium in Cape Town on the issue. The event was made possible thanks to the combined generosity of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the German Federal Foreign Office, the European Union, and the Government of Canada.
The Africa Group for Justice and Accountability (AGJA) and the Wayamo Foundation will hold a one-day public symposium at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel on 29 August 2018, under the banner of “South Africa and international justice – Charting the way forward”.
The introduction of the International Crimes Bill before the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services, two weeks ago, signals steadfast resolve to eventually withdraw from the Rome Statute. Is South Africa dismantling its own international criminal justice framework for one man who they will, despite withdrawal, still be legally obligated to arrest and surrender for as long as he remains wanted by the International Criminal Court?
Rather than undermine South Africa’s international reputation, Ramaphosa has a unique and rare opportunity to enhance it; it is up to him to seize this chance.
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