The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:
“Canada is deeply troubled by South Africa’s announcement that it has submitted a notice of withdrawal from the International Criminal Court to the United Nations Secretary-General.
South Africa played an important role in the development of the court, and we recognize its past efforts to end impunity for the most serious international crimes. We also remember the words of Nelson Mandela in 1998, when South Africa joined the court:
Our own continent has suffered enough horrors emanating from the inhumanity of human beings towards human beings. Who knows, many of these might not have occurred, or at least been minimized, had there been an effectively functioning International Criminal Court.
All victims, including African victims, have a right to justice. The ongoing contributions of African states in support of the court are invaluable to make this justice a reality.
That steadfast support is more important than ever today; we urge South Africa to reconsider. The International Criminal Court cannot be abandoned because it may not be perfect. Our answer must rather be to improve and strengthen it.
We must not forget the thousands of children, women and men who have been victims of unimaginable atrocities and for whom the International Criminal Court, as a court of last resort, offers the only hope of justice.”
Distributed by APO on behalf of Department of Foreign Affairs Canada.