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South African Court Blocks Government's ICC Withdrawal Push

FILE - South Africa's President Jacob Zuma.
FILE - South Africa's President Jacob Zuma.

A court in South Africa has ruled against a government plan to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The plan to withdraw from the Hague-based court system was ruled unconstitutional Wednesday because parliament was not consulted before the notice of withdrawal was filed.

The South African court has asked the government to revoke its notice of withdrawal.

South Africa announced its intention to withdraw from the ICC last year following a controversial 2015 visit by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for alleged war crimes by the ICC.

Under the ICC agreement, member countries are legally obligated to carry out arrest warrants on behalf of the court. But South Africa refused to arrest al-Bashir, saying the agreement violates its diplomatic immunity law.

The South African government has said that after it revokes its notice of withdrawal, a new withdrawal bill will be introduced into parliament.