International Criminal Court

South Africa has backtracked on its decision to leave the International Criminal Court following last month’s High Court ruling that such a move would be unconstitutional.

Notice of the withdrawal process was posted on the UN’s treaty website this week, although it does not necessarily spell the end of its bid to leave the Hague-based court.

South Africa had in October announced it would withdraw from the UN court which was set up to try the world’s worst crimes following a dispute sparked by its refusal to arrest visiting Sudan President Omar al-Bashir.

The decision to leave the UN court sparked widespread criticism, but on Tuesday, Pretoria informed UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres that the process by which it had begun withdrawing “was found to be unconstitutional and invalid”.

Although the High Court ruling was a blow to President Jacob Zuma, it was welcome news for the ICC, which has been hit by a number of withdrawal threats following complaints of an alleged bias against Africa.

Late last year, The Gambia had notified the UN it was withdrawing from the ICC in a process which was swiftly reversed under the government of new President Adama Barrow, who took office in January.

Burundi has also registered to leave, while Kenya is considering following suit.

At the moment, nine out of 10 ICC investigations concern African countries, with the only other case concerning Georgia.

Do you think the ICC has a double standard on investigations, when it come to dealing with African countries and the west?

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