State Withdrawal Notifications from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court: South Africa, Burundi and the Gambia
In 2016 three African states namely South Africa, Burundi and The Gambia submitted written notifications of withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Rome Statute) to the Secretary-General of the United Nations pursuant to Article 127 of the Rome Statute. Although the African Union welcomed and fully supported the three withdrawal notifications and considered them as ‘pioneer implementers’ of its ‘Withdrawal Strategy’, The Gambia and South Africa withdrew their notifications of withdrawal. Some other states – Kenya, Namibia and Uganda – have made threats to submit withdrawal notifications. This article examines four issues arising out of the said withdrawal notifications. First, why did the three states submit withdrawal notifications from the Rome Statute? Second, what is the impact of the three states’ withdrawal notifications? Third, is the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (or the yet-to-be-established African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights) a suitable African regional ‘alternative’ to the ICC? Finally, what steps might be taken to avoid, or at least minimise, further withdrawals in the future and to avoid impunity of perpetrators of international crimes in states that have withdrawn from the Rome Statute?
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