Omar al-Bashir (centre, blue suit) at the infamous 2015 African Union summit in Johannesburg.
Arguably Africa's most powerful diplomatic player, South Africa is now backing out of the world's most important mechanism for bringing war criminals to justice.
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir during a rally against the ICC.
Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters
The South African government's decision to withdraw from the ICC should not be seen in isolation. The African Union has called on its member states to withdraw from the court.
A burnt ancient manuscript at the Ahmed Baba Centre for Documentation and Research, in Timbuktu.
The ICC sentence against Al-Mahdi for destroying ancient artifacts at Timbuktu sends the right message that the international community will not tolerate the destruction of heritage sites.
The International Criminal Court at The Hague.
More needs to be done to protect women against sexual violence perpetrated in war.
The scene after an Islamic State bombing in Damascus.
Even if the war in Syria is somehow brought to a close, prosecuting IS members for the crimes they've committed won't be easy.
Kuwait, 1991. If Saddam Hussein did this today the ICC may consider him an environmental criminal.
Everett Historical / shutterstock
But criminal sanctions alone aren't enough. We also have to make individuals and firms financially liable for their actions.
We're unlikely to see the Syrian leader face charges for crimes against humanity any time soon.
A survivor stands in the graveyard where a church was torched in Eldoret, 300km west of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. The consequences of hate speech are evident in the country.
The violence that often accompanies political disputes or elections is testimony to the efficacy of hate propaganda as a tool in the political arsenal of Kenyan politicians.
Former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré at his trial in Senegal for crimes against humanity.
The trial of Chad's former dictator could provide a template for prosecutions of other African despots. Its success could be seen as a victory for African justice over international approaches.
Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo enters the court room of the ICC.
Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo has been convicted for crimes of sexual violence during war in the Central African Republic. It's a significant case, but not the historic victory it's been hailed as.
Crimes against humanity.
EPA/Islamic State video
What is the likelihood of stateless terror suspects being brought to book for their crimes?
Laurent Gbagbo at the ICC.
How can the International Criminal Court serve justice in a climate of intense rumour and bitter suspicion?
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma being welcomed on his arrival in Khartoum by Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir earlier this year.
Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah
South Africa's withdrawal from the ICC could have mere symbolic value. The country will continue to have obligations to binding decisions taken by the UN Security Council – including those pertaining to the court.
Rebuilding MH17 from the wreckage was hard, but building a legal case is harder still.
We have the courts, we have (some) evidence, but can we build a case? MH17 investigation could remain inconclusive.
Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir addresses members of the UN Security Council in Khartoum in 2008.
Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah
Omar al-Bashir's planned trip to New York to address a summit on sustainable development at the UN General Assembly involves considerable reputational risk for the US.
Chief American prosecutor Robert H. Jackson addresses the Nuremberg court.
Set up between the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, the Nuremburg Trials founded an entire legal system the world now takes for granted.
Due process awaits at Libya’s Supreme Court.
By declining to stop an unfair trial and a batch of death sentences in Libya, the world's court has yet again proved its fecklessness.
Russia vetoed a proposed Security Council resolution to set up a tribunal to investigate the downing of Flight MH17.
Are there any other options at the international level to have the downing of Flight MH17 properly investigated and – if appropriate – prosecuted by an impartial, independent international court?
There are lessons to be learnt about the ICC from the Kellogg-Briand Pact, signed in 1928. It failed to prevent the outbreak of war but brought war criminals to justice later.
The ICC has not lived up to its noble intentions of making the world more just. Its failure echoes that of the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact, which set out to banish wars and to settle disputes peacefully.
A judgment by South Africa’s Constitutional Court unambiguously set out South Africa’s legal obligations.
The South African government’s failure to arrest Omar al-Bashir flies in the face of the Constitutional Court’s decision in 2014 that South Africa has a duty to abide by its international obligations.