ICJ welcomes developments in The Gambia and South Africa in support of the International Criminal Court

The ICJ has welcomed the decision by The Gambia to rescind their notice of withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC), as well as a decision of the South African High Court to nullify a similar withdrawal notice by South Africa.

On 16 February 2017, The Gambia filed a notice with the United Nations (UN) Secretary General that it was withdrawing its previous notice of denunciation from the Rome Statute for the ICC made last year by the Government of former President Yahya Jammeh.

The South African High Court ruled on 22 February 2017 that the withdrawal by South Africa was unconstitutional and invalid, as the Government had bypassed the Parliament in taking its decision. The ICJ urges the South African government to promptly comply with the High Court order and to abandon any further moves at withdrawal.

The ICJ also calls on government Burundi to reverse similar moves to withdraw Burundi from the jurisdiction of the ICC

“The ICC is a bedrock component of the architecture developed by the international community over decades to tackle impunity for the most serious crimes and gross human rights violations occurring throughout the world,” said Arnold Tsunga, Director of the ICJ Africa Program.

“African States have been the largest bloc of support for the ICC. Notwithstanding recent public rhetoric at the African Union, African States are in a position to show global leadership and reaffirm their commitment to the ICC and international justice,” he added.

The ICJ considers that while there are aspects of the ICC that require reform, there is at present no viable framework to combat impunity for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and aggression other than the ICC.

“African Member States have a great potential to push for appropriate reform of the ICC with a view to tackling impunity globally,” said Arnold Tsunga.


Arnold Tsunga, t: +27716405926 ; e: arnold.tsunga(a)icj.org

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