South Africa should leave ICC, ruling party says; will invite Bashir for China-Africa summit

ANC says international court not fit for purpose with some powers 'using it for their own agendas'.

SOUTH Africa should leave the International Criminal Court because it no longer serves its purpose, the nation’s ruling party said.

“The ICC has lost its direction,” Obed Bapela, the head of the international relations committee for the African National Congress, told reporters at a conference near Johannesburg where the party announced new policy.

The Hague-based court needs to be restructured because some nations are using it to further their own agendas, he said.

South Africa’s government refused to arrest Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir, who has been indicted twice for war crimes and genocide by the ICC, when he visited Johannesburg on June 15 for an African Union summit.

READ: ‘We told Bashir to just relax’: new details of S. Africa’s effort to shield wanted Sudanese leader

The government also defied an order from South Africa’s High Court that Bashir couldn’t leave the country while it reviewed the case.

While South Africa is a signatory to the Rome Statute that established the ICC, the government argued that it couldn’t arrest Bashir because he was in the country for an event that fell under the AU’s jurisdiction.

Bashir has ruled Sudan for a quarter century since taking power in a military coup. The ICC indicted him in 2009 and 2010 for his role in atrocities in Sudan’s western Darfur region, where insurgents took up arms in 2003.

As many as 300,000 people have died in the conflict, mainly from illness and starvation, according to the United Nations.

Sudan will be invited to attend a China-Africa summit due to take place in South Africa in December, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said.

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