South Africa to review International Criminal Court membership

ANC wants to withdraw from ICC after criticism of visit of Sudanese president.

South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) is mounting pressure on President Zuma to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) following a recent request from the international court for the government to explain why it failed to arrest Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir during his visit in June.

The Sudanese leader, who stands accused by the ICC of genocide and crimes against humanity, attended the African Union summit in Johannesburg and left South Africa despite a court order to detain him.

bashir

The proposal to leave the Hague-based ICC was made by deputy minister in the presidency Obed Bapela, who said that parliament would now debate the country's membership of the ICC, claimed the court had “lost its direction.”

Edna Molewa, who heads the international relations subcommittee of the ANC’s national executive council, says her party believes the ICC has not served the African continent in the same manner it serves other countries. She also said that the ANC had been contemplating the withdrawl of South Africa from the ICC long before her government was asked to explain its actions in relation to Bashir.

In March 2009, Bashir became the world's first sitting president to be indicted by the ICC, for allegedly directing a campaign of war crimes against civilians in the Darfur region of western Sudan.