The President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute on Saturday urged South Africa and Burundi to “reconsider their positions” to withdraw from the International Criminal Court.
The head of the Assembly, responsible for the management and oversight of the ICC, made the call after South Africa joined Burundi to start the process of withdrawing from the court.
“Withdrawing from a treaty is a sovereign act however I regret South Africa’s decision and call them to reconsider their position on the ICC,” Sidiki Kaba said in a statement.
He urged South Africa and Burundi to “work together with other States in the fight against impunity and massive violations of human rights.”
“The withdrawal from the ICC Rome Statute by a State Party would represent a setback in the fight against impunity,” he added.
South Africa applied to leave the ICC this week in relation to its dispute with the court last year over the visit of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir who is wanted by the tribunal for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
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They failed to arrest him because of diplomatic immunity, but being signitaries to the Statute, South Africa waived such immunity and was obliged to arrest Bashir.
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza who himself is being accused of involvement in the death of several hundred people, signed a legislation withdrawing from the court after the ICC said it will investigate recent political violence in the country.