Promoting Human Rights & Rule of Law in South Africa
7 August, 2012
When we talk about scales being removed — as in scales falling from our eyes, so that we might see more clearly — we’re generally referring to a positive development. But in the context of justice, the removal of scales — justice’s balancing emblem — is a very bad development indeed. And yet that’s exactly what is likely happen with the SADC Tribunal.
The SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government meets in Maputo, Mozambique from 17-18 August 2012. That meeting will decide the fate of the Tribunal. No tribunal currently exists — it has been suspended now for close on two years. The legality of that suspension is itself in question. A meeting of SADC Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General who were tasked by the Summit with reviewing the Tribunal and proposing amendments to its protocol, has proposed that a future Tribunal not have any human rights jurisdiction until such time as a separate protocol on this issue is concluded. That recommendation flows from a similar provision contained in the constitutive instrument for the East African Court of Justice. Unsurprisingly, more than thirteen years after inclusion of that provision East African states have yet to conclude a separate human rights protocol. And there is no reason, certainly given that the SADC Tribunal’s suspension followed close on it declaring its inherent human rights jurisdiction, that Southern African states would do any differently.
This makes the meeting, currently taking place in Maputo, of Southern African civil society groups and titled “The SADC We Want” so critical. The meeting is hosted by the SADC Council of Non-Governmental Organizations (SADC CNGO); the Southern Africa Trade Union Co-ordination Council (SATUCC) and the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa (FOCCISA) and will allow engagement by civil societywith SADC Elders, like former President Chissano of Mozambique, SADC officials such as Executive Secretary Dr Salamao and SADC Parliamentarians. It will be an opportunity for civil society to press for a Tribunal that has inherent human rights juridiction.
Anything less and the Tribunal will be a pale shadow of its former self. It will make a mockery of the concept of justice. SADC leaders will offer their citizens a figure which looks like justice but without its essential machinary – the scales to weigh justice. And they will hope we will be fooled. . .
Receive latest news from SALC
Latest Blog Posts
- Civil Society calls on African States to Promote Justice for International Crimes at upcoming AU Summit
- Zambia: Activist defends right to freedom of expression
- An Exciting Week in Court for SALC: Freedom of Expression, the Right to Equality, Refugee Law and International Criminal Law
- Swaziland High Court resorts to jurisprudential gymnastics to justify conviction of editor
- Delegates at the National Constitution Convention in Zambia lose the plot on human rights
- SALC in the News: Lesotho denies women right to be chiefs
- SALC IN THE NEWS: PAUL KASONKOMONA FIGHTS FOR FAIR TRIAL
- News Release: LESOTHO COURT FAILS WOMEN BY DENYING THEM THE RIGHT TO SUCCEED TO CHIEFTAINSHIP
- Media Advisory: FINAL ARGUMENTS IN SA HIGH COURT CHALLENGE TO REFUGEE STATUS OF CONTROVERSIAL RWANDAN GENERAL AND SUSPECTED WAR CRIMINAL
- Media Advisory: LESOTHO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO RULE ON WOMEN’S RIGHT TO CHIEFTAINSHIP
- Positive Reinforcement: Advocating for International Criminal Justice in Africa
- SALC IN THE NEWS: LEGABIBO CHALLENGES REFUSAL TO REGISTER ORGANISATION
- SALC HOSTS SENSITISATION MEETING OF SADC MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT ON CERVICAL CANCER
- Not so Much a Surprise that the SADC Tribunal was Disbanded but that it was Formed at All
- African Leaders embarrassing African Court judges