The National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL) welcomes the South African government’s withdrawal of the repeal bill on the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The withdrawal comes after the High Court of South Africa Gauteng Division, Pretoria ruled that:
“(i) the notice of withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, signed by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation on 19 October 2016, without prior parliamentary approval, is unconstitutional and invalid;
(ii) The cabinet decision to deliver the notice of withdrawal to the United Nations Secretary-General without prior parliamentary approval, is unconstitutional and invalid;
(iii) The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and the President of the Republic of South Africa, are ordered to forthwith revoke the (said) notice of withdrawal “
Although Minister Muthambi, Acting Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, has stated that the withdrawal of the bill is not an indication of the abandonment of the process, we compliment her and other key role players for the respect and speedy execution of the court order.
While we remain cognisant of the challenges and imperfections of the ICC we are not convinced that a withdrawal from the ICC is the best solution. That being said, we do however look forward to a series of serious and robust debate on the pros and cons of our membership to the ICC. We pause to say that paramount in all discussions should be the promotion and protection of human rights, especial those of the poor and vulnerable. We can never protect dictators and other cruel leaders who engage in acts of crime against humanity, genocide and gross violations of human rights which result in the highest risk to women and children who are often the first casualties in war and terror. If such murderers rule in the West, East and Europe and remain untouched, it does not excuse us in our beloved continent of Africa from excusing such dictators and murderers, who have caused such mayhem and destruction against masses of people , from facing the full wrath of the law, be it under the ICC or similar institutions.
It is an indictment on all the leaders in Africa who are protecting or covering up for such leaders who stand accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
We therefore extend our congratulations and gratitude to all those who played a role in the withdrawal of this embarrassing bill. We appeal to the powers that be to exercise their powers as stated in our constitution and to adhere to both procedural and substantive dictates of the constitution, and hear the voices of civil society and the many stakeholders fighting for justice for all. We believe that if we all work together, act in good faith and with a common goal in mind we should be able to find a workable solution to the challenges faced by our country and Africa at large.
ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF DEMOCRATIC LAWYERS (NADEL), SOUTH AFRICA
By: Memory Sosibo
Publicity Secretary, NADEL Executive Committee,
Contact: 081 710 7910