Johannesburg: There are three ways to view the advent of international courts - ‘Community law', as some style it - in Europe and Southern Africa. The first is suggested by the title for this session: a noble dream (in the phrase Nicola Lacey has so tellingly used in her biography of HLA Hart), but one which wakes to disillusion, or dysfunction, or both. The second is Lacey's antithesis: nightmare. There are two variants of this. The first is that projected in Southern Africa by Zimbabwe, and other countries which (as I shall describe) have flocked to its standard.
I. The Role of the United Nations (UN): The international situation continues to undergo complex and profound changes. Multi-polarity and economic globalization are deepening. New breakthroughs in scientific and technological revolution are in the making and the impact of information technology is on the rise. Countries are more closely linked and interdependent. Emerging economies and developing countries are becoming stronger. Peace and development remains the theme of the times. Exchanges, dialogues and cooperation between countries are deepening.
New York: South Africa’s foreign policy is geared towards the vision of creating a better South Africa and contributing to a better Africa and a better world. It is our assertion that the above may only be fully realized where there is a global commitment to the promotion of the rule of law and the realization of human rights worldwide. We feel at home in this discussion because South Africa is a sovereign democratic state founded on specific values, which include the supremacy of the Constitution, the rule of law, human dignity, equality and freedom.
That the future of the SADC Tribunal would be governed by whim and not by law was signalled in its earliest days: its courthouse in Windhoek, Namibia was gutted by fire before it had even heard its first case. Had the Tribunal shut its doors then it would have been a far less ignominious end than was to happen five years later in August 2012 when the SADC Summit of heads of state and government (the Summit) decided to close it down.
New York: The Security Council (Wednesday) stated its readiness to adopt targeted sanctions against parties that persistently violated the rights of children in armed conflict, strongly condemning their recruitment, killing, maiming, sexual abuse, abduction and denial of aid, as well as attacks on schools and hospitals, ahead of a debate on the topic that drew some 60 speakers. Adopting resolution 2068 (2012) by a vote of 11 in favour, to none against with four abstentions (Azerbaijan, China, Pakistan, Russian Federation), the Council expressed deep concern that certain perpetrators persisted in committing violations, and called on Member States to bring them to justice through national judicial systems and, where applicable, international mechanisms.
Johannesburg: Ahead of the opening of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York next week, heads of state and government will convene for a meeting on the "rule of law at the national and international levels". This is the first time the general assembly holds such a meeting exclusively devoted to the rule of law and highlights the central place the rule of law is assuming on the national and international stages. South Africa looks to the meeting to showcase itself. It is right to do so, but its recent actions threaten to make it more the ugly stepsister than the Cinderella of this ball.
Johannesburg: Nigerian author Ben Okri was chosen to deliver UCT's 13th annual Steve Biko lecture on Wednesday night, and the award-winning poet and novelist gave a compelling address. Some might have hoped for a more hard-hitting presentation at a moment of national upheaval, but the sheer seductiveness of Okri's oratory made that easy to forgive.
Geneva: Can a small, neutral country have a significant impact on global politics? In its ten years as a United Nations member, Switzerland has focused on its traditional strengths in development and humanitarian issues as it has tried to wield influence. Experts on both sides of the Atlantic agree that, despite some setbacks, the balance sheet of Switzerland's first decade has been overwhelmingly positive. Switzerland has played key roles in structural and budgetary reform of the UN, as well as in the areas of human rights and international justice.
New York: A timely and decisive response is vital in the face of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, top United Nations officials stressed Wednesday, highlighting the need to act when a State fails to protect its own people. “This is the ultimate test of the responsibility to protect,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his remarks to an informal interactive dialogue of the General Assembly on the principle agreed at a summit of world leaders in 2005.
Johannesburg: On Tuesday, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu pulled out of the Discovery Leadership Summit, citing his refusal to share a platform with former British prime minister, Tony Blair. Tutu, a Nobel peace laureate, said Blair's support of the Iraq war was "morally indefensible". In a statement released by his spokesperson Roger Friedman on Tuesday, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu revealed that he had decided against participating in the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit on Thursday.