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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Media Advisory: Top Human Rights advocates to discuss regional human rights courts following concerns around South Africa’s possible withdrawal from Internal Criminal Court

11 September 2019

ATTENTION: Editors and Reporters

The South African Human Rights Commission, the Thabo Mbeki Foundation and the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria will host a seminar to discuss the African Human Rights System. The seminar will be held on 11 September 2019 at the Protea Fire and Ice Hotel in Menlyn, Pretoria.

The seminar will discuss matters related to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Court) and the proposed African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Court of Justice) that is envisaged under the 2014 Malabo Protocol. The seminar is held against the backdrop of concerns around South Africa’s possible withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Justifications for the withdrawal from the ICC that have been proffered include the fact that as long as South Africa is party to the ICC, it will not be able to effectively broker peace in other African countries as perpetrators of crimes who fear indictment before the ICC will be reluctant to come to South Africa for peace talks. Another much talked about reason is African states’ view that the ICC is unfair and biased towards Africans in its indictments. The motivation for the seminar is the concern that should withdrawal from the ICC proceed, there will remain a lacuna with regard to regional or international prosecution where South Africa is not willing to investigate or prosecute international crimes. The lacuna would have been ideally filled by the establishment of the African Court of Justice, which would have the power to prosecute international crimes on the continent. However, none of the required fifteen ratifications to ensure it comes into force has yet been secured.

The seminar will thus discuss the implications of South Africa’s possible withdrawal from the ICC as well as create a deeper understanding of the African Human Rights System and proposed criminal justice system. This will be done by engaging in a discussion on matters related to the African Court, its proposed successor (the African Court of Justice), as well as the relationship between the African Court and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. In addition, the seminar will explore why South Africa has to date not made a declaration allowing individual access to the African Court in its current form.

It is expected that the meeting will draw participants and discussants from government, the African Union bodies, independent state institutions in South Africa, academia and civil society.

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Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission

Gushwell Brooks – Communications Co-ordinator Tel: 082 645 8573 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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