Khulumani Expresses Its Concern at the ANC's Regretful Resolution to Lead an African-Wide Withdrawal from the ICC


In a move that can only be seen as a regressive step in the ongoing unresolved saga of securing accountability for war crimes and for crimes against humanity, and the ending of impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes, Khulumani joins the outcry of advocates for equitable justice for both perpetrators and victims of political conflicts across the world in expressing its dismay at this extraordinarily unhelpful development.

Khulumani agrees with the view of ICTJ President David Tolbert that this resolution on an ICC walkout to be led by South Africa represents a serious threat to the struggle against impunity and the system of accountability established by the ICC more than 10 years ago when it was created in 2002 to help end impunity for perpetrators of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely, genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, and to help prevent such crimes.

It is even more regrettable given the critical role played by South Africa at that time as one of the first of 30 African countries to ratify the Rome Statute that set up the Court, and to incorporate it into its domestic law. These actions gave hope to thousands of victims and survivors of mass extermination, rape and mutilation. 

Khulumani Support Group was one of 160 civil society groups from across Africa which endorsed a call for African states to commit themselves to enforcing the ICC’s arrest warrant against al-Bashir. 

All the signatory civil society organisations stand for the ending of impunity for the worst crimes known to humankind, most often committed by ruling elites on the African continent. 

Eight situations presently before the ICC are from Africa, four having been referred to the court by African governments themselves; two having been by the UN Security Council and one involving the voluntary acceptance of the ICC’s jurisdiction. 

As Tolbert explains, “In spearheading a campaign to persuade African countries to withdraw from the Rome Statute, South Africa has lost its place as a proud member of the community of nations seeking to end impunity for crimes that threaten global peace and security. This campaign must be roundly condemned and vigorously opposed.”

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