September 16, 2019
 In 2022-Inequality in International Criminal Prosecutions

Country: South Africa
Delegate Name: Emerson Abbo

Inequality in Internal Criminal Prosecutions
The Republic of South Africa
Emerson Abbo
Forest Hills Eastern

The ICC or International Criminal Court is a court of last resort used to instill peace and convict against crimes including genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. An international court was first proposed at a Paris Peace conference in 1919, and after nearly a century of drafts, meetings, and conferences, the General Assembly convened a conference in Rome in 1998 to finalize a treaty. In July of that year, 120 countries adopted the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Since then, in the ICC’s short and politically restrained life, it has opened numerous investigations in 10 different countries and concluded several trials. However, several countries have made well-founded claims that the ICC disproportionately targets African countries. These allegations discredit the ICC’s mission and undermine its influence.

The Republic of South Africa was one of the first countries to sign the Rome Statute and has long shared ICC’s mission of fighting for human rights and ending immunity. However, South Africa is concerned by the ICC’s disproportionate number of prosecutions against African Countries and questions the court’s current principles and credibility. Additionally, South Africa is alarmed by ICC’s interference with peace and Security on the African continent. In 2013, the African Union (of which South Africa is a member) complained that the ICC was primarily targeting African suspects and failing to file charges against Western criminals. Then in 2015 Omar Hassan Ahmad Bashir, former president of the Republic of Sudan, attended an African Union meeting in South Africa. The ICC prohibited Omar al-Basir from leaving South Africa due to arrest warrants, and South Africa was presumably obligated to cooperate with the court by arresting Omar al-Bashir. South Africa failed to arrest him which escalated the tension. South Africa was disappointed in the following controversy and believes that a diplomatic process was wrongly escalated into a judicial process.

South Africa recognizes the ICC as an important tool for international justice, but calls for fundamental reform. More specifically, the ICC should prosecute evenly between countries and stop targeting African countries. South Africa calls for other countries to hold the ICC accountable for this mission, as well as continue their own separate contribution to the fight for justice.

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