JUSTICE MINISTER CRITICISES SOUTH AFRICAN OPPOSITION FOR GOING TO COURT OVER ICC

South African Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha has voiced concern over reports that the Democratic Alliance (DA), the country’s main opposition party, has filed urgent court papers in an attempt to challenge the Constitutionality of Pretoria’s decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Referring to the reported move by the DA, Masutha said here Monday that he was concerned when political parties opted to take the legal route instead of using debates in Parliament to raise their concerns, adding that he did not understand the urgency of the application as it would take a year to ratify the necessary laws to allow South Africa to withdraw from the ICC.

“I’m a little concerned that it seems as if we have opted to use the courts to resolve every other political issue, or if we feel that the political platform that the Constitution provides us does not help us get our way through the democratic process; we are very quick to run to the courts to seek recourse there.”

Meanwhile, Kenya is yet to begin the formal process of leaving the ICC. Presidential spokesperson Manoah Esipisu told a media briefing Monday that while Kenya had made two previous decisions to withdraw from the ICC, a Cabinet decision had not been reached on the matter.

He spoke after South Africa and Burundi announced that they had begun the formal process of withdrawing from the ICC.

Kenyan Members of Parliament allied to the government have twice passed resolutions calling for the East African nation to withdraw from the embattled Hague-based court. The matter has, however, not yet received attention at Cabinet level.

“In terms of procedure, the ultimate decision as to whether Kenya will pull out or not is subject to Cabinet deliberations. To withdraw from the treaty you will need an Executive deliberation, then Cabinet directs the Cabinet Secretary (Minister) for Foreign Affairs to prepare the appropriate instruments to the relevant authorities. These processes have not come up yet, it is accurate to say that the decision of the executive is pending,” said Esipisu in Nairobi Mondaysu.

Not lost on them is the 2007 post-election violence and crimes against humanity charges that President Uhuru Kenyatta and his then political rival and now Deputy President William Ruto faced at the ICC. The cases have since collapsed.

There are mixed reactions from Kenyan citizens on the desire to leave the ICC. “We don’t have enough structures that can handle our own issues, for example you cannot take your president to court, what if the president runs amok and does things that other dictators are doing, where do we head to,” said one Kenyan.

“They (the ICC) are targeting the African guys, they want to take us back to the colonial rule,” said Nairobi resident Beatrice Njuguna.

“I believe the ICC is not perfect, and I believe that there could be loopholes but I don’t think walking out could help, because it is a deterrent court. I don’t think it targets African leaders because we have giving an example of what is going on in South Sudan: we have not seen warrants issued by the ICC yet, it means the ICC comes when Africa has failed. The ICC is very relevant,” said Thomas Otieno.

The issue of withdrawal is likely to come up during the next African Union (AU) summit in January next year.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK