Media release: Time allowed for public participation on ICC withdrawal inadequate

28 February 2017
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The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development invited public comment on government’s intention to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court on 14 February 2017, with the deadline for comment set at 8 March 2017.

On 22 February, the Gauteng Division of the High Court declared the decision to withdraw from the ICC as unconstitutional and invalid, and revoked the notice of withdrawal that was submitted to the ICC.

FMF is of the view that the period for public comment for such a serious issue which is central to democracy in South Africa is too short (22 days), and this has been made more evident with the High Court’s judgment.

The Constitution mandates that the public administration encourage public participation in policy decisions, and, as a natural consequence, that it must be done in good faith. 22 days is too short a period to satisfy the good faith requirement.

FMF enjoins the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to extend the deadline, so as to allow the South African public to study the ramifications of the decision as well as the content of the High Court judgment, and make their informed submissions.

The Free Market Foundation has written same to Mr V Ramaano, Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services.

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