South Africa opposition party challenges ICC withdrawal in court

Mmusi Maimane, the newly elected leader of South Africa’s main opposition party

South Africa’s main opposition party has files papers with the Constitutional Court to challenge the government’s decision to pull out of the International Criminal Court, it said on Monday.

After formally declaring its departure last week, South Africa will become the first country to quit the International Criminal court. The country said that the ICC membership conflicted with its diplomatic immunity laws.

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) hopes the Constitutional Court, the final arbiter on constitutional issues, can intervene.

“The notice of withdrawal is in breach … of the Constitution, as it was delivered without first securing a resolution of Parliament authorising South Africa’s withdrawal,” the party said in a statement setting out its legal argument, Reuters reports

South Africa last year announced its intention to leave after the ICC criticised it for disregarding an order to arrest Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who is accused of genocide and war crimes, when he visited the country. Bashir denies the accusations.

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