S AFRICA: Church Warns Against International Criminal Court Withdrawal

JOHANNESBURG OCTOBER 28, 2016(CISA) – The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference(SACBC) has warned South Africa against withdrawal from the International Criminal Court.

“We appeal to the government to reconsider its decision and remain within ICC until such a time that Africa has developed an effective regional court with the capacity and will to demand accountability of all state officials and leaders, particularly the serving heads of governments,” the bishops said in an October 24 statement.

The bishops noted that the withdrawal from the International Criminal Court “could encourage a large-scale African exodus from the court and entrench impunity.”

“We are deeply concerned that South African’s withdrawal from ICC will influence and encourage other African countries to leave the court en masse. The large scale African withdrawal from ICC will be disastrous for the thousands of the vulnerable people in Africa who will in the future remain without adequate protection and remedies in the face of human rights violations perpetrated by a serving head of state,” the bishops added.

The prelates noted that the increasing levels of political instability, manipulation of terms limits and democratic reversals, Africa need a strong defense and prevention against genocide and other crimes.

“We reject the Government’s argument that its obligations under the Rome Statute bring it into direct conflict with obligations to observe international diplomatic norms and standards that include immunity,” concluded the bishops.

Over and above the legal considerations, we find the decision of the government to be unfortunate on ethical grounds.

South Africa, Burundi and Gambia are some of the African Countries that have already quit ICC.

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