As seductive as certain perspectives of international law may appear to those who disagree with the outcome of the interpretative exercise conducted by this Court in the contempt judgment, sight must not be lost of the proper place of international law, especially in respect of an application for rescission. The approach that my Brother adopts may be apposite in the context of an appeal, where a court is enjoined to consider whether the court a quo erred in its interpretation of the law. Although it should be clear by now, I shall repeat it once more: this is not an appeal, for this Court’s orders are not appealable. I am deeply concerned that seeking to rely on articles of the ICCPR as a basis for rescission constitutes nothing more than sophistry.
The Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany would like to draw the attention of the Cape Town legal community to a public panel discussion on Monday, 24 January 2011 at 6.30 at 6, Spin Street (Idasa Building), Dakar-Room.
21 and 15 Years on: to what extent can Germans and South Africans enjoy their respective „living“ Constitutions?
The 1949 German Grundgesetz (Basic Law) which was amended after German unity in 1990 and the 1996 South African constitution both marked the onset of genuine democracy.
Henceforth, the executive, legislative and the legal arms of the state recognize the supremacy of the rule of law as embodied by the respective written constitutions. Nevertheless, a constitution is not a „dead body“ but lives through its daily implementation and the interpretation provided by the Constitional Court. Individual citizens and the public in general view a constitution as a protection of basic rights and expect legislation and executive decisions alike to take into account their actual situation in society.
The panelists will discuss whether the constitutional practice in both countries is living up to this challenge, bringing the constitution in line with current developments and problems in society as a whole.
Justice (ret.) Pius Langa, former President of the South African Constitutional Court
Roelf Meyer, former Minister of Constitutional Affairs (1992 to 1996) and chief negotiator at Kempton Park
Professor Herta Däubler-Gmelin, former Federal Minister of Justice and Member of the Bundestag (Federal Parliament), honorary professor at the Free University of Berlin
Professor em. Hans-Peter Schneider, founding director of the German Institute of Research in Federalism, Hannover, and member of the Constitutional Court of several German Federal States (Bundesländer).
Moderator: Jaco Barnard-Naudé, associate professor, University of Cape Town
Following the discussion refreshments will be served.
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