South Africa cancels withdrawal from ICC - for now

South Africa has informed the UN that it is cancelling its decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Andrew Kazmierski

The move follows the South African High Court finding the withdrawal unconstitutional after opposition party, Democratic Alliance, took action when the government sought to withdraw from the ICC without approval from parliament in the autumn of 2016. High Court Judge Phineas Mojapelo found that the ‘decision by the national executive to deliver the notice of withdrawal of South Africa from the Rome Statute of the ICC without prior parliamentary approval is unconstitutional and invalid’.

Uncertain future

However, the South African government called the judgment 'merely procedural' and reiterated its intention to leave the ICC - raising uncertainty as to what will ultimately be the outcome. South Africa is not the only country considering such a course of action. Burundi similarly voted to withdraw from the ICC and leaders of several African countries have announced that they back a ‘strategy of collective withdrawal’.

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