Withdrawal from ICC exposes SA as human rights violator

Dr Pieter Mulder

By withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC) the ANC is acknowledging their guilt for making a mistake in allowing president Omar al-Bashir to leave the country. They are now trying to run away from the consequences of this mistake.

President Mbeki went out of his way to establish the image of South Africa as a human rights sensitive country and make us a respected member of the international world. The decision of the Zuma government to withdraw from the ICC is destroying this image and confirms the world’s bias against African countries.

Whatever valid reasons the ANC has put forward for this decision, it will expose the ANC government like never before on the huge stage of the international community as a mere violator of human rights.

In 1998 the Mbeki government signed the Rome Convention on the ICC and had it ratified through specific legislation by South Africa’s parliament.

Section 27 of the Rome Statute stipulates that one’s status as head of state does not provide immunity from the court’s jurisdiction. The court also found this to be valid.

The ANC is now arguing against this section.

On 4 June 2002 a debate was held in South Africa’s parliament about the implementation of the Rome Statute.

Adv. Johnny de Lange said on behalf of the ANC: “Another very important principle spelled out in this legislation is that heads of state, heads of government and members of parliament will not be able to raise a defence that they are heads of state”.

Deputy minister Landers said: : “... for perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes the world has suddenly become a small place, and the number of safe havens has been drastically reduced.”

There is no doubt that the ANC understood the full implications of the Rome Statute, has been caught out and is now trying to run away from their mistake to the detriment of South Africa. South Africa will be paying a high price on an economic and international level for this short-sightedness.


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