South Africa has started the process of withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC). Local media claimed authorities accused the court of being biased against African countries, a claim already made by other nations across the continent.

South Africa's foreign minister signed a document named "Instrument of Withdrawal", which was submitted to the United Nations, according to AP.

"The Republic of South Africa has found that its obligations with respect to the peaceful resolution of conflicts at times are incompatible with the interpretation given by the International Criminal Court," the document said.

Both the UN and the South African government have not yet confirmed media reports.

In June 2015, South Africa said it was considering leaving the ICC following widespread criticism for its refusal to arrest Sudan president Omar al-Bashir. Under the Rome Statute, South Africa as an ICC member has an obligation to arrest anyone sought by the tribunal. The government cited "contradictions" in the statute that clashed with treaty obligations to the African Union.

Bashir is wanted by the ICC for alleged crimes including genocide committed during the Darfur conflict which began in 2003. The United Nations says that 300,000 people died in the conflict and 2.7 million were displaced. Bashir has always rejected the charges and refuses to stand trial as his country does not recognise the ICC's jurisdiction.

Earlier this year, the South African Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) upheld a High Court ruling that the government should have arrested Bashir while he was in the country in June 2015. Earlier in October, Burundi became the first nation to announce its intention to leave the ICC.

Dewa Mavhinga, Human Rights Watch's Africa division senior researcher, said in a statement: "It's important both for South Africa and the region that this runaway train be slowed down. Questions remain about whether the government even acted in line with its own laws for leaving the court."