South Africa decided to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) amidst criticism that the country failed to arrest Sudan’s ‘wanted’ president Omar al-Bashir earlier this year.
South Africa ruling party Africa National Congress (ANC) resolved over the weekend to leave the ICC on ground that the court was biased against African nations.
Obed Bapela, deputy minister in South Africa’s Presidency office, told reporters that the ICC was not being fair and claimed that international criticism of the government failure to arrest Bashir in June demonstrated their “contempt of the continent”.
“The ICC has lost its direction unfortunately and is no longer pursuing that principle of an instrument that is fair for everybody,” PressTV quotes Bapela saying.
Many members of the ANC believe the court disproportionately targets African leaders while overlooking violations by the United States and Israel.
Bashir – accused of masterminding genocide during Sudan’s Darfur conflict – was allowed to leave an AU summit in Johannesburg and fly home in defiance of a local court ruling ordering his detention under a warrant from the ICC.
The Hague-based court recently asked South Africa to explain why it did not arrest Sudanese President Bashir during his official visit to the country earlier this year.
President Bashir has spent the last half a decade looking over his shoulder, avoiding countries he deemed risky and only visiting African countries he saw as friendly due to their hostile stance against the ICC.
In some cases he has had to leave in a huff after visiting other African nations like his trip to Nigeria in 2013.
“South Africa still holds the flag of human rights, we are not lowering it,” Reuters quoted Bapela saying, adding that parliament would now debate South Africa’s ICC membership.