Deviating from the Historic Path. The Reasoning behind South Africa's Attempt to Withdraw from the ICC

South Africa's notice of withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, which prosecutes the most heinous crimes, appears as a puzzle in light of its apartheid history and fight for human rights. The paper analyses the drivers behind the foreign policy decision to leave the international court on the basis of the theory of neoclassical realism.

Mouritzen and Wivel's explanatory levels are utilized as a method to investigate the foreign policy decision on different levels. The paper finds that when looking at interstate relations, South Africa reaffirmed its regional power position and followed a geopolitical trend. In addition, the decision was motivated by intra-state considerations and the desire to shield its political elite from possible future persecution. The future of the relationship between South Africa and the International Criminal Court will remain a topic of discussion and will be influenced by the individuals in power.