UNITED NATIONS, — The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, an international non-governmental organization (NGO) has decried South Africa’s decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute and International Criminal Court (ICC) as a great victory for injustice and impunity.
Its Executive Director, Dr Simon Adams, who heads the New York-based NGO which works to protect populations from crimes against humanity, has also rejected the government’s argument that its obligations under the Rome Statute brought it into direct conflict with obligations to observe international diplomatic norms and standards, which include immunity.
Meanwhile, the United Nations has confirmed receipt of the letter from the South African government giving notice of its decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute and the ICC. UN
Secretary General’s spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, said over the weekend: “I can confirm that the letter has been received and is being processed by the department of legal affairs.”
He added that the Secretary-General did regret the decision by the government of South Africa.
“Over the last two decades the world has made enormous strides towards the development of a global system of criminal justice with the ICC at its core and the Secretary-Gerneral recalls the significant role played by South Africa in the establishment of the Rome Statute and the ICC within fact that South African being one of the first countries to sign on to the Rome Statute.”
Adams characterised the decision as out of step with Nelson Mandela’s philosophy of placing human rights at the centre of South Africa’s foreign policy.
“When Rwanda happened in 1994, at the exact same time of course that South Africa was going through its transition to democracy, the most commonly said thing to people like me living in South Africa in the aftermath of that, was the world doesn’t care about African victims,” he added.
Adams said the ICC did take African victims seriously. The South African government has long argued that at times there’s a direct conflict between the pursuit of peace and the pursuit of justice and accountability.
Adams believed the arrest of Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir in Johannesburg last year would not have made the situation in Darfur any worse.
“It wouldn’t have made it worse either, I’m not naA�ve enough to think that the arrest of one individual will make all the difference to what is obviously a complex, long-standing and very difficult conflict in some way in Darfur.”
He reiterated the point that the ICC remained a court of last resort where domestic jurisdictions were unable to pursue justice, arguing that of the nine African cases before the court, six were referred by governments themselves.
Source: Nam News Network