The government’s decision to withdraw its membership of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is both unconstitutional and a breach of the Bill of Rights‚ the DA has argued in papers filed with the Constitutional Court yesterday.
The party filed an affidavit tothe court for direct access to challenge the cabinet’s decision which the justice minister announced on Friday‚ a decisionthe party says marks a shift in the country’s standing in the international community and its commitment to social justice.
“The South African government delivered the notice of withdrawal without consulting parliament‚ the only body that can give the executive a mandate to withdraw from the ICC given the domestic legislative implications such a decision has‚” the DA said.
“With drawing from the ICC would require parliament‚ specifically the National Assembly‚ to repeal the implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act 27 of 2002 (‘Implementation Act’)‚ which incorporates the Rome Statute into domestic law.”
The party’s grounds for challenging the government’s decisionare that:
- The notice of withdrawal is in breach of Section 231(2) of the constitution‚ as it was delivered without first securing a resolution of parliament;
- It was unconstitutional and unlawful to deliver the notice of withdrawal prior to parliament having first decided to repeal the Implementation Act;
- The notice of withdrawal is procedurally irrational‚ as it was delivered without any process of consultation with parliament and the public; and
- The notice of withdrawal is a breach of the state’s Section7(2) duty to respect‚ protect‚ promote and fulfil the rights contained in the Bill of Rights.
The DA said the government had acted with “haste and in antithesis with the democratic principles of transparency and consultation”. “This forces us to ask: is thegovernment committed to justiceand human rights?”
A withdrawal from the ICC‚ the DA said‚ would substantially weaken the protections afforded to the rights of citizens and foreigners alike.