Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
12 October 2011

Invite: CC Clerks Alumni Association lecture series

The Constitutional Court Clerks’ Alumni Association invites you to attend a mini-series of lectures on current issues in international and constitutional law with Prof John Dugard and Prof Max Du Plessis. These talks, which are the next in the law talks series hosted by the Association, will be held on Thursday 27 October 2011 in Johannesburg and on Thursday 3 November 2011 in Cape Town.

On nationalisation

On 27 October 2011, Prof John Dugard and Prof Max Du Plessis will be in conversation with Tembeka Ngcukaitobi about The Nationalisation Debate – International and Constitutional Perspectives. As the ANC Youth League and others in South Africa mobilise for the nationalisation of mines and other key industries, questions remain about whether there are legal impediments to nationalisation becoming formal government policy in South Africa. Professors Dugard and Du Plessis critically assess the nature and extent of the “policy” proposals in light of a range of possible international and constitutional hurdles that face proponents of nationalisation.

This law talk will be hosted by DLA Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr at its offices at 1 Protea Place Sandton at 17h30 for 18h00 on Thursday 27 October 2011. RSVP for this event to thelawtalks@concourt.org.za by Monday 24 October 2011.

On the ICC and the UN Security Council

On 3 November 2011, Prof John Dugard and Prof Max Du Plessis will be in conversation with Nicole Fritz on South Africa’s confused and confusing relationship with the International Criminal Court and the UN Security Council. South Africa started out as a vocal supporter of the International Criminal Court when the Court first opened its doors in 2002. Yet less than a decade later – and with the Court having issued arrest warrants for crimes committed by President al-Bashir of Sudan and Colonel Gadaffi (amongst others), and requests by NGOs in South Africa for arrest warrants to be issued for crimes by senior Israeli officials committed during Operation Cast Lead – South Africa’s current relationship with the Court is less than clear.

Matters have recently been complicated by the Security Council’s referral of the Libyan situation to the Court and Nato’s involvement in that country. Professors Dugard and Du Plessis critically discuss South Africa’s diplomacy in relation to these complex and unfolding international events.

This law talk will be hosted by ENS at its offices at 1 North Wharf Square Loop Street Foreshore Cape Town at 17h00 for 17h30 on Thursday 3 November 2011. The event is supported by the Institute for Security Studies and the Southern African Litigation Centre. RSVP for this event to thelawtalks@concourt.org.za by Monday 31 October 2011.

On the speakers

Prof John Dugard is one of the world’s leading scholars in the field of international law. He has served as a Judge ad hoc of the International Court of Justice and as a Special Rapporteur for both the United Nations Human Rights Council and the International Law Commission. His distinguished career has included professorships at many leading institutions, including formerly as Chair in Public International Law at Leiden University. He is currently Honorary Professor at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. Prof Dugard has been awarded honorary doctorates of law by the University of Cape Town, University of Natal, University of Port Elizabeth, University of Pretoria and the University of the Witwatersrand.

Prof Max Du Plessis is an advocate at the Durban Bar, an Associate Professor at the Howard College School of Law University of Kwa-Zulu Natal and Senior Research Assistant at the International Crimes in Africa Programme – Singular Crime of the Institute for Security Studies. He is the author of many distinguished publications, including on issues of international criminal justice. He holds an LLM from Cambridge University.

Nicole Fritz is the Founder and Executive Director of the Southern African Litigation Centre. She completed her LLM at New York University as a Hauser Global Scholar. She served as a law clerk to Justice Richard Goldstone.

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi is an advocate at the Johannesburg Bar and the Director of the Constitutional Litigation Unit at the Legal Resources Centre. He holds an LLM from the London School of Economics. He served as a law clerk to former Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson.

On the Constitutional Court Clerk Alumni Association

The Constitutional Court Clerks Alumni Association is a public non-profit organisation. Its members have served as law clerks to the justices of the Constitutional Court since the Court’s establishment in 1994. It has over two hundred members based locally and abroad, all of whom have a demonstrated interest in constitutional law and a commitment to the ethos of a democratic society based on the values of human dignity, equality and freedom. The members carry this commitment into their professional lives in and outside the legal profession. The Association provides a platform for engagement in dialogue that is enriching to its members and seeks to advocate an awareness of human rights and democracy in South Africa and abroad. In pursuit of these objectives, the Association has launched the law talks – a series of discussions about the law. These talks aim to engage its members and other interested people in topical legal issues and provide an opportunity to debate important matters facing law and constitutionalism in South Africa.

The law talks are open to interested members of the public Enquiries can be directed to Nadine Fourie at 083 235 6389

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