ICC: UN chief urges South Africa to reconsider decision on leaving ICC

Displayed with permission from dpa German Press Agency

New York (dpa) – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged South African President Jacob Zuma to reconsider his country’s decision to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC).

On October 21, South Africa announced that it will withdraw from the ICC, saying its membership has hampered its efforts to help resolve conflicts in Africa.

In a phone call with Zuma, Ban expressed his regret over South Africa’s decision and noted his appreciation for the « continued and unwavering commitment of the South African government to justice and accountability, » a UN statement said.

The parliament in conflict-ridden Burundi voted in favour of leaving the ICC earlier this month.

Gambia also announced its intention to withdraw from the ICC, but has not officially notified the UN yet.

There is a widespread feeling in Africa that the tribunal unfairly targets African leaders more than those of other continents.

The ICC, established in July 2002, exercises jurisdiction in situations of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes carried out by a citizen of a member-state or in the territory of a member-state or country that recognizes the court.

The court relies chiefly on cooperation with countries for making arrests, transferring arrested persons to its detention centre in The Hague, freezing suspects’ assets and enforcing sentences.

Only Africans have been on trial at the court.

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