Senegalese ICC official asks SA to rethink its move to withdraw from the court
At least one African country has asked SA to go back on its stated intention to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that Senegal’s minister of justice‚ Sadiki Kaba‚ who is the president of the ICC’s 124-member Assembly of States Parties‚ would reiterate his plea to “SA and Burundi to reconsider their position” at a briefing on Monday in Dakar.
At the weekend, Kaba said that the move would result in “weakening the only permanent international criminal court in charge of prosecuting the most serious crimes that shock the conscience of humanity‚ namely genocide‚ war crimes‚ crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression”.
SA’s decision emerged after an Instrument of Withdrawal penned by International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane was sent to the UN secretary-general last week.
HRW on Monday attacked Nkoana-Mashabane’s claim “that a reason for SA’s withdrawal is that the government cannot conduct peace negotiations with parties in armed conflict because of its obligations to the ICC”.
“…The ICC treaty does not bar any active role in peace negotiations‚” HRW said.
SA’s withdrawal takes places amid a backlash against the ICC emanating from Sudan and Kenya, both of whose leaders have faced charges by the court.
Attacks on the ICC focus on claims that the court is targeting Africa.
While all but one of the ICC’s investigations to date are in Africa, the majority have been initiated following a request of an African government.