South Africa's decision to leave ICC ruled 'invalid'

The process of withdrawal lasts one year and, in the case of South Africa, would take place this October.

The main opposition Democratic Alliance took the government to court, arguing that Justice Minister Michael Masutha acted unlawfully by announcing the withdrawal without seeking parliamentary approval.Judge Phineas Mojapelo said the power to conduct global treaties belonged to the executive, but that such agreements must go before parliament.

The president and ministers, the judge added, "are ordered forthwith to revoke the notice of withdrawal".

The court ruling is a setback for President Jacob Zuma's government, which could appeal.

The country's main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, had protested before launching court action to challenge the government's move.

Government argued that obligations to the ICC undermined the country's commitments to global relations.

Selfe said the DA hoped the ruling created the opportunity for the government to reconsider the decision and for it to come back to parliament with a more considered approach to the question of the withdrawal. But on February 14m The Gambia told the United Nations that it would remain in the ICC, reversing the previous administration's plan to withdraw from the tribunal. Burundi and Kenya are both still considering an exit.

Pretoria had in 2015 announced its intention to leave after the ICC criticised it for disregarding an order to arrest Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, accused of genocide and war crimes, when he visited South Africa.

Now nine out of the ICC's 10 investigations concern African countries, the other being Georgia. However numerous investigations were referred to the ICC by the governments of those states, who are also signatories to the court.

  • Leroy Wright