By Amy Lukau
South Africa’s justice minister says that he intends to pull out of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The ICC is a permanent international court established to investigate, prosecute and try individuals accused of committing the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole including genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.
Today, South Africa’s decision to leave the court has been ruled unconstitutional.
South Africa is not alone in its dissatisfaction with the ICC. Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni has also called the court “useless.” African nations of Burundi, Gambia, Kenya, and Namibia have issued similar proclamations.
Gambia’s president said the court was an “‘International Caucasian Court’ for the persecution and humiliation of people of color, especially Africans.”
The decision to leave the court came after South African officials refused to arrest Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir after the ICC had charged him with alleged war crimes in 2015.
Currently, thirty four African nations are a part of the court which comprises the largest regional bloc of the 122 countries that volunteered to be under the courts jurisdiction. Yet, many would argue that the majority of the leaders prosecuted and subsequently jailed are African.
Many African leaders are now accusing the court of bias.
Nine of the ten current cases under investigation by the court are in African countries.
The ICC has said itself it simply does not have the power to investigate countries in the west, known in international relations as the “global north.”
South Africa’s advocating to leave the ICC has left many Western leaders and international groups fearful that this will lead to a mass exodus of African countries from the court.