Quote of the week

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.

Khampepe J
Zuma v Secretary of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector Including Organs of State and Others (CCT 52/21) [2021] ZACC 28 (17 September 2021)
24 April 2007

African Court still not up and running

The African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights is far from being a reality, Transvaal Judge President Bernard Ngoepe said on Tuesday. According to iafrica website the Court will only be up and running towards the end of the year:

“The court only exists on paper,” said Ngoepe, who is one of the 11 judges from all over Africa sworn in July last year to serve on the court. “There are no premises, no staff, nothing. We had to start from scratch with the budget, which is time consuming,” he said at an Institute of Security Studies seminar in Pretoria.

The interesting question is what is going to happen once the Court starts hearing cases and begins to enforce the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. What happens if that court, for example, hears a case from Doctors for Life about South Africa’s abortion law or the same-sex marriage law?

In the same-sex marriage case the Court said that it would be a perversion of justice if International law is used to limit the rights of South Africans, so this should mean the African Court should not be able to take away existing rights. But a decision of that court could give political impetus to reactionary forces in South Africa and could reopened discussions about controversial matters.

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