Accessibility links

Breaking News

Ramaphosa Proposes ICC Exit

FILE - The exterior of the International Criminal Court at The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, March 31, 2021. The International Criminal Court on March 17, 2023 issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes because of his alleged actions in Ukraine.

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa said Tuesday his ruling ANC party had resolved that South Africa should quit the International Criminal Court, which last month issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Yes, the governing party... has taken that decision that it is prudent that South Africa should pull out of the ICC," Ramaphosa said during a press conference co-hosted with the visiting President of Finland Sauli Niinisto.

Ramaphosa said the decision, which follows a weekend meeting of the African National Congress (ANC), was reached "largely" because of what is perceived as the court's unfair treatment of certain countries.

"We would like this matter of unfair treatment to be properly discussed, but in the meantime the governing party has decided once again that there should be a pull out," he said.

The ICC issued an arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin in March meaning Pretoria, due to host the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa bloc summit this year, would have to detain him on arrival.

South Africa has refused to condemn the invasion of Ukraine which has largely isolated Moscow on the international stage, saying it wants to stay neutral and prefers dialogue to end the war.

It is not the first time South Africa has attempted to withdraw from the ICC.

It made an attempt in 2016 following a dispute a year earlier when the then Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visited the country for an African Union summit. It refused to arrest him despite the then-leader facing an ICC arrest warrant over alleged war crimes.

The controversial decision to pull out was however revoked when a domestic court ruled such a move would have been unconstitutional.