London [UK], Oct. 21 : After Burundi, South Africa has said that it is pulling out of the International Criminal Court (ICC), making the country the second this week, to leave the tribunal that pursues the world's worst atrocities.
South Africa's Justice Minister Michael Masutha as saying that the ICC's obligations are inconsistent with domestic laws giving sitting leaders diplomatic immunity, reports the Guardian.
Pretoria said last year it planned to leave the ICC after receiving criticism for ignoring a court order to arrest the visiting Sudanese President, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who is accused of genocide and war crimes.
At a press conference in the capital on Friday, Masutha said,"The implementation of the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court Act 2002 is in conflict and inconsistent with the provisions of the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act 2001." Under the Rome statute, countries have a legal obligation to arrest anyone sought by the tribunal.
Any move to leave would take effect one year after notice is formally received by the United Nations secretary general.
Earlier on Friday, the public broadcaster SABC published a document outlining the withdrawal plan. The document was signed by South Africa's minister of international relations and cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and dated October 19.
"The Republic of South Africa has found that its obligations with respect to the peaceful resolution of conflicts at times are incompatible with the interpretation given by the international criminal court," the document states.
The International Criminal Court opened in July 2002 and has 124 member states. It was the first legal body with permanent international jurisdiction to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.