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South Africa has begun the process of withdrawing from the International Criminal Court by notifying the United Nations on Thursday that it intended to revoke its ratification of the Rome Statute, which established the court, as a result of the court’s perceived biases against African nations. However, without parliamentary approval, it’s unclear if the government has the authority to unilaterally withdraw. By SIMON ALLISON.

South Africa has begun the process of exiting the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Daily Maverick has learned. In New York on Thursday, South African diplomats delivered a formal notice of withdrawal from the Rome Statute to the United Nations. This is the formal beginning of a year-long process to complete withdrawal.

In the notice, seen by Daily Maverick, South Africa outlined the court’s perceived biases against African states, and highlighted the dilemma it faced when Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir – wanted for war crimes by the ICC – attended an African Union summit in Johannesburg last year. At the time, the government argued diplomatic conventions around immunity for heads of state trumped its legal obligation to arrest Bashir.

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