South Africa


    S.African 'political' murderer in parole limbo
    13.07.17
    AFP

    Inside South Africa's maximum security Groenpunt prison, hawk-eyed guards stroll between rows of wooden benches, watching inmates closely as they meet visitors. Among the notorious jail's residents is 51-year-old triple murderer Percy Chepape, an anti-apartheid fighter serving a 60-year sentence for his "politically motivated" crimes committed in the chaos that followed liberation in 1994. The former underground operative of an armed group linked to the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) has been behind bars for 20 years, convicted of a deadly armed robbery on a benefits office in a remote town in the country's north. He claims the aim of the June 1997 heist, which was carried out with...

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    S.Africa confronts apartheid-era custody deaths by police
    24.06.17
    AFP

    The brutal death of anti-apartheid campaigner Ahmed Timol was allowed to go quietly unsolved in the interests of South Africa's democratic reconciliation. But now more than 45 years after he fell from a 10th-floor window at a notorious regime security building and died, Timol's case is being re-examined following a campaign to expose the truth led by his family. Timol, a 30-year-old activist with the then-banned South African Communist Party (SACP), was arrested in Johannesburg on the night of October 22, 1971. After being held in detention for five days, he was declared dead...

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    South Africa revokes decision to leave ICC: UN
    08.03.17
    AFP

    South Africa has formally revoked its controversial decision to leave the International Criminal Court following last month's High Court ruling that such a move would be unconstitutional. Notice of Pretoria's decision to end the withdrawal process was posted on the UN's treaty website this week, although it does not necessarily spell the end of its bid to leave the Hague-based court. South Africa had in October announced it would withdraw from the UN court which was set up to try the world's worst crimes following a dispute sparked by its refusal to arrest visiting Sudan President Omar...

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    Week in review: Court blow for South Africa and challenges facing CAR’s Special Court
    27.02.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    The transitional justice week was marked notably by a South African court’s decision that the country’s notification of withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) was unconstitutional. This is at least a victory for the rule of law.  The decision of the High Court in Pretoria is based on procedure and does not stop the government from going ahead with ICC withdrawal, according to Hugo van der Merwe, Research Director at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) in Cape Town, who spoke to JusticeInfo. It nevertheless forces the government to go through...

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    Court ruling against ICC withdrawal an “embarrassment” for South Africa
    24.02.17
    Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo

    This week, the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, ruled that the government’s notification to the UN last October of its withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) was unconstitutional. South Africa’s announcement of withdrawal had sparked fears of an “Afrexit” from the ICC, given similar announcements by Burundi and Gambia and strong objections to the International Criminal Court by the African Union. It also followed a spat with the ICC over South Africa’s 2015 failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir, who is under two ICC arrest warrants for genocide and crimes...

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    S.African court rules against govt plan to pull out of ICC
    22.02.17
    Susan NJANJI AFP

    A South African court on Wednesday ruled the government's plan to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) was "unconstitutional and invalid", providing a boost to the embattled Hague-based institution.The ICC has been rocked by threats of withdrawal in recent months, with complaints focusing on its alleged bias against Africa.South Africa announced in October it had lodged its decision to pull out with the United Nations, following a dispute over Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visiting the country in 2015.South African authorities refused to arrest Bashir despite him facing...

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    ICC calls S. Africa and UN to explain lack of cooperation on Bashir
    14.12.16
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    South Africa has been summoned to appear before the judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on April 7, 2017, over its failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar al Bashir in June 2015. The United Nations has also been called to this unprecedented hearing, in which judges are to decide if Pretoria’s refusal to arrest Bashir was a breach of its obligations to the Court and, if so, whether the violation should be referred to the Assembly of States Parties (ICC member states) and UN Security Council. This summons, decided by the judges, opens a new chapter in relations between the ICC...

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    Africa Speaks Out Against ICC Withdrawal

    The recent decisions by South Africa, Burundi, and Gambia to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) are generating wide attention and speculation about a mass exodus from the court by African countries.  But think it’s clear where Africa stands on the ICC? Think again. A growing number of African governments have spoken out over the past week against withdrawal: Côte d’Ivoire’s president, Alassane Ouattara, said in a local radio interview on November 1 that his country does not intend to leave the ICC. Nigeria gave a strong statement in support of the ICC to the United Nations...

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    Could ICC withdrawal of South Africa and others spell more violence in Africa?
    26.10.16
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo.net editorial advisor

    How things have changed! It was an African country, Senegal, that was the first in the world to ratify on February 2, 1999, the statutes of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Driven by civil society, some 30 other African countries then followed its example in the name of fighting impunity. Many may have forgotten that this wave of ICC membership happened despite a virulent diplomatic campaign by the Bush administration, which threatened to retaliate against any non-NATO State that ratified the ICC statutes. The United States wanted to see the Court die, and yet the majority of African...

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    African lawyers back the ICC
    25.10.16
    Ephrem Rugiririza, Arusha, Tanzania

    A group of African personalities, including former key players in international criminal justice, have called on Burundi and South Africa to reconsider their decisions to pull out of the International Criminal Court (ICC).  Meeting in Arusha, the Tanzanian tourist town that is the seat of the African Court of Human and People’s Rights and former seat of the now-closed International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), members of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability (AGJA) published at the start of an October 18 symposium their Kilimanjaro Principles of International Justice and...

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    Will South Africa’s move to quit ICC spark "Afrexit"?
    24.10.16
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    South Africa has asked the United Nations to enact its withdrawal from the treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC). This came just days after Burundi’s parliament voted to withdraw from the Court. Battling against a jurisdiction regarded by many African leaders as the legal arm of neo-colonialism, the African Union has for several years threatened a mass withdrawal, but has never managed to unite on this. Has Burundi now triggered a movement that could snowball into a gradual "Afrexit"? Eyes are now turning to Kenya and Uganda, which are active critics of the Court. "The Republic...

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    South African withdrawal from the ICC a deplorable departure from commitments to justice
    24.10.16
    FIDH

    (The Hague, Pretoria, Paris) FIDH and Lawyers for Human Rights strongly deplore the unilateral move by the South African executive to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), and call on the South African Parliament to annul this decision.Withdrawal from the ICC is not only counterproductive to the international fight against impunity, but a shocking departure from South Africa’s commitment post-Apartheid to promoting justice and redress for victims of atrocities and has not complied with the Constitution and domestic legislation relating to SA State obligations toward international criminal justice. “Playing politics with justice is reprehensible,” stated Dimitris...

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    South Africa: Continent Wide Outcry at ICC Withdrawal

    (Johannesburg) – South Africa’s announced withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a slap in the face for victims of the most serious crimes and should be reconsidered, African groups and international organizations with a presence in Africa said today. The groups urged other African countries to affirm their commitment to the ICC, the only court of last resort to which victims seeking justice for mass atrocities can turn. “South Africa’s intended withdrawal from the ICC represents a devastating blow for victims of international crimes across Africa,” said Mossaad Mohamed...

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    Week in Review: Burundi and South Africa move to quit ICC
    24.10.16
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    After Burundi, South Africa. One after the other, two African countries in a week decided to leave the International Criminal Court, decisions which could be infectious on a continent that is already suspicious and critical of the Court in The Hague.   The two countries cite the same reasons of "national sovereignty" and accuse the ICC of anti-African bias. For Burundi, the fact remains that the announcement by a desperate regime fearing prosecution by the Court is above all opportunistic.South Africa’s decision is likely to have more consequences, given Pretoria’s political and...

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    Africa in the dock at the ICC
    21.10.16
    AFP

    The International Criminal Court -- dealt a blow Friday with South Africa's decision to withdraw from the tribunal -- has launched nine investigations in eight African countries since its establishment in 2002. A 10th was opened in Georgia, the only country outside Africa. Here are details of the main indictments and cases before the world's first permanent war crimes court. - Democratic Republic of Congo - Congolese rebel warlord Bosco Ntaganda went on trial in September last year on 18 war crimes and crimes against humanity charges. Ntaganda -- nicknamed "The Terminator" -- has pleaded not guilty to the charges related to atrocities committed by his Patriotic Forces for the...

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    S.Africa to pull out of International Criminal Court
    21.10.16
    AFP

    South Africa announced Friday that it would withdraw from the International Criminal Court, dealing a major blow to a troubled institution set up to try the world's worst crimes. The decision followed a dispute last year when Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visited the country for an African Union summit despite facing an ICC arrest warrant over alleged war crimes. South Africa refused to arrest him, saying he had immunity as a head of state. Justice Minister Michael Masutha told reporters in Pretoria that the court was "inhibiting South Africa's ability to honour its obligations...

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    Mixed Legacy for South Africa Truth Commission Twenty Years On
    18.04.16
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo.net Editorial Advisor and associate professor at Neuchâtel University

    Twenty years ago South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) started work to shed light on crimes committed under apartheid. Hundreds of victims and perpetrators came to testify voluntarily. This TRC is held up as an example, but in South Africa itself, people have mixed feelings about it. When the first TRC hearing started in the town of East London on April 15, 1996, Commission Chairman Archbishop Desmond Tutu hoped the risk would pay off, so that South Africa would not sink into a bloodbath. Hence his search for a third way, neither impunity nor Nuremberg-like tribunals but...

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    S.Africa's conduct 'disgraceful' in Bashir case, court says
    15.03.16
    AFP

    The South African appeal court Tuesday accused the government of "disgraceful conduct" in allowing Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to leave the country despite an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC). Bashir was not arrested while attending an African Union summit in Johannesburg last year as the South African government claimed he had immunity as the head of a member state. When an emergency order was obtained from the High Court during the summit ordering Bashir's arrest, government lawyers admitted he had flown out of the country just a few hours earlier. The government subsequently filed a plea against the arrest order at the Supreme Court of Appeal...

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    Truth without Repentance in South Africa
    31.07.15
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo.net Head of Project and associate professor at the University of Neuchâtel

    After former Yugoslavia last week, we continue our series on forgiveness with a look at the experience of South Africa and its Truth and Reconciliation Commission (1995-2002). Next week, we will wrap up with a conclusion covering all the five countries we have looked at. Forgiveness was at the heart of the philosophy of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. On many occasions its chairman, Desmond Tutu stressed that forgiveness was an essential condition for living together. Indeed, his main literary work is entitled “No Future without Forgiveness”. Tutu links the ethics of...

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    Bashir-ICC Fiasco Undermines South Africa, Says Africa Expert
    15.06.15
    Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo.net

    Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir flew out of South Africa on Monday, defying a court order for him to stay, as judges weighed up whether he should be arrested for alleged war crimes and genocide. The International Criminal Court (ICC) said it was "disappointed" at South Africa's failure to heed its calls to detain Bashir on long-standing arrest warrants over the Darfur conflict. Although Bashir had already left, the High Court in Pretoria ruled that South Africa’s failure to arrest him was unconstitutional. It also required the government to explain within a week how Bashir had been...

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