The decision by government to withdraw South Africa from the International Criminal Court was unlawful and invalid‚ a lawyer for the Democratic Alliance said on Monday.
The DA wants the high court in Pretoria to set aside that decision‚ which was relayed to the United Nations by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane in October.
It said her decision was in violation of the Constitution‚ which grants the exclusive power to bind South Africa to international agreements to Parliament.
Steven Budlender‚ for the DA‚ described her decision as an usurpation of Parliament’s exclusive powers.
“It is Parliament that must decide if South Africa must be bound by a treaty. There can really be no doubt that if the executive decides to ratify a treaty‚ without obtaining approval from Parliament‚ that would be unlawful‚” Budlender told the court.
He said the executive arm of government violated the constitution when it made said decision to leave the ICC.
“The court has to declare that the executive has acted unconstitutionally‚” Budlender said.
He said the Constitution required that the decision whether or not to bind South Africa to an international treaty is taken by Parliament.
The matter continues.