Johannesburg: South Africa will not be able to quit the International Criminal Court (ICC) before the BRICS summit in August if it follows the due parliamentary process, Llewelyn Curlewis, a law lecturer at the University of Pretoria, told Sputnik.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday that the ruling African National Congress party was going to pull the country out of the Hague-based court because it treated African countries unfairly. His office said later that the president misspoke.
Curlewis said the ANC needed the support of a majority of parliament members to begin the withdrawal process and then to fight off legal challenge from organizations that are already considering taking the government to court if it attempts the move.
“I cannot see with the best of endeavors by the ANC government at this stage that they will be able to finalize all these things before come August when this BRICS symposium is supposed to take place,” the legal expert said.
The ANC suggested pulling the country out of the ICC after the court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been invited to the five-nation BRICS summit of emerging economies. Leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are due to meet in Durban from August 22-24.
The court in Europe has long been accused of furthering a neocolonial agenda by focusing almost exclusively on African countries. In 2021, the ICC dropped its investigation into the United States over crimes it committed in Afghanistan after Washington sanctioned ICC officials.
Curlewis said it would be reckless for South Africa to quit the ICC from the economic standpoint because a hasty pullout would prompt US sanctions. He argued that South Africa had more trade agreements with the US than Russia.