Minister tells Parliament that Malawi will not withdraw from International Criminal Court

Minister tells Parliament that Malawi will not withdraw from International Criminal Court

Minister tells Parliament that Malawi will not withdraw from International Criminal Court

The country had earlier in 2015 announced its intention to leave after the ICC criticised it for disregarding an ICC order to arrest Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who is accused of genocide and war crimes, when he visited South Africa. The ICC issued a warrant for Bashir on counts of crimes against humanity, murder, torture, and rape, and other crimes over his alleged involvement in the Darfur genocide beginning in 2004.

The DA objected to the withdrawal of the ICC and took the matter to court, arguing the decision was unconstitutional, irrational and procedurally flawed.

The main opposition Democratic Alliance took the government to court, arguing that Masutha acted unlawfully by announcing the withdrawal without seeking parliamentary approval.

The court's ruling will force the parliament to open up the decision to the public - a critical part of the debate, said Phephelaphi Dube, director of the Centre for Constitutional Rights.

In its withdrawal notice, South Africa complained that its legal obligations to the global court were sometimes "incompatible" with the "peaceful resolution of conflicts".

Sitting in the high court in Pretoria, deputy judge president Phineas Mojapelo said on Wednesday that any move to pull out of the ICC must be "on the basis of the expressed authority of the constitution".

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After the election of President Adama Barrow, The Gambia's new government in February asked the United Nations to halt its process of withdrawal from the ICC.

"Government will reflect on the reasons for the judgment and decide whether to appeal or not".

A high court judge instructed the government to revoke its notice of withdrawal from the court based in The Hague, Netherlands.

However, the Democratic Alliance argued the government's intention to leave the ICC directly contradicted South Africa's commitment and legal obligations to global justice and human rights. South Africa said the treaty contradicts its diplomatic immunity law and prevents the country from acting as a regional peacemaker, a role that could require it to host adversaries on its own soil.

It's an important ruling for global justice both in South Africa and beyond.

Human rights activists feared if South Africa, one of Africa's most politically and economically powerful countries, left the legal body, other countries would follow suit.

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