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African National Congress plans to withdraw South Africa from ICC

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) announced it has decided to withdraw membership from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The ANC’s party's National General Council (NGC) made the decision after meeting this weekend, said Obed Bapela, head of the ANC's International Relations Commission on Sunday.

"The NGC has just resolved that South Africa should withdraw from the International Criminal Court,” he said. “However, only after we have followed certain processes."
Mr Bapela said the ANC was still committed to the principles that led to the founding of the court but said "the CC has lost its direction unfortunately and it's no longer pursuing that principle."

The decision has been criticised by AfriFroum, a South African civil-rights organisation.

“Withdrawal from ICC is a step backwards into the swamp of human rights violation and unaccountability,” said the organisation. Alana Bailey, AfriForum Deputy CEO  said the ANC looks to “avoid national and international accountability and move away from a culture of the protection of human rights”.

“Apart from the fact that the withdrawal involves a complicated process, it also sends a powerful message to the national and international community that South Africa treats the protection of human rights with contempt,” she added.

Earlier this year the South African government threatened to leave the ICC after facing international criticism over the failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted on charges of genocide.

See our earlier post: South Africa threatens to leave ICC (25 Jun 2015)

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