ICC withdrawal: DA’s challenge will be heard in North Gauteng High Court

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) can confirm that our legal challenge to Executive’s absurd decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) will proceed in the North Gauteng High Court, with our legal team pushing to ensure that the matter is heard before the end of the month.

We launched an urgent application for direct access to the Constitutional Court last month, in order to challenge the constitutional validity of a notice initiating South Africa’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. We contend that this notice of intention is in conflict with both sections 231(2) and 7(2) of the Constitution, and thus invalid and unconstitutional.

Earlier this week, the Constitutional Court did not grant our application for direct access on the basis that it was not in the interests of justice for the matter to be dealt with by that Court at this stage. However, we launched substantively the same papers in the both the Constitutional Court and the High Court on the same date, and thus we will proceed with the matter in the North Gauteng High Court. The High Court must hear and determine this application on an urgent basis.

The intention to leave the ICC is in directly contradicts South Africa’s commitment to international justice and human rights. The withdrawal would act as the ultimate betrayal of our historical commitment to a human-rights based foreign policy.

Under Jacob Zuma, our country’s approach to foreign policy has been at odds with the human rights-based foreign policy spearheaded by the late President Nelson Mandela. This withdrawal would indicate to the rest of the world that we do not believe in holding those who commit the most horrendous of acts, such as genocide and war crimes, to account.

We will therefore fight this unjustifiable decision to the very end, so that our country remains committed to the advancement of justice and human rights across the globe.

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