A South African court has ruled that the government had no right to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) without first consulting parliament.Â
Judge Phineas Mojapelo at the North Gauteng High Court is quoted by the AFP news agency as saying:
The cabinet decision to deliver the notice of withdrawal to the United Nations secretary general without prior parliamentary approval is unconstitutional and invalid.”
The country began the formal process of leaving the global court last October.
At the time a cabinet minister said South Africa did not want to execute ICC arrest warrants which would lead to “regime changeâ.
In 2015, another South African court criticised the government for refusing to arrest Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir.
He is wanted by the ICC on charges of genocide and war crimes.Â
Mr Bashir was attending an African Union summit in Johannesburg, when the government ignored an ICC request to arrest him.
He denies allegations that he committed atrocities in Sudan’s troubled western Darfur region. Â Â
The BBC’s Andrew Harding in Johannesburg says todayâs court ruling is another victory for the political opposition in South Africa, which has increasingly, turned to the courts to challenge the governing African National Congress (ANC).