The Supreme Court of Appeal has granted the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the South African Police Service (SAPS) leave to appeal the Zimbabwe Torture Case in which the North Gauteng High Court ordered the NPA and SAPS to investigate crimes against humanity committed in Zimbabwe.

The Supreme Court of Appeal is however likely to limit legal argument to the interpretation of the section 4(1) and section 4(3)(c) of the Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act (ICC Act). These provisions deal with the jurisdiction of the South African authorities to investigate international crimes committed beyond South Africa’s borders. The following findings of the High Court will therefore not be challenged: that a reasonable basis exists to believe that crimes against humanity were committed in Zimbabwe; that the NPA and SAPS did not take South Africa’s international obligations into consideration in taking the decision not to investigate; the nature and extent of the obligation of the NPA and SAPS to investigate and prosecute international crimes; the evidentiary threshold for triggering an investigation in terms of the ICC Act;  and the (ir)relevance of political considerations in relation to decisions taken to investigate under the ICC Act.

Hearing dates have not been allocated. More information about the Zimbabwe Torture Case and the Appeal is available HERE. For regular updates on this and other cases follow SALC on Twitter @follow_salc

Malawi’s president, Joyce Banda, continues to impress. See the latest press release from African civil society organisations regarding Malawi’s decision not to host the AU Summit. The Summit will now be hosted at the AU Headquarters in Ethiopia, which is not a Rome Statute signatory.

(Johannesburg, June 8, 2012) –The Malawi government showed strong support for victims of international crimes by deciding not to be the host of the African Union (AU) summit if President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan is allowed to attend, African civil society organizations and international organizations with a presence in Africa said today.

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Today the North Gauteng High Court dismissed an application for leave to appeal against the judgment delivered in Southern African Litigation Centre and Another v National Director of Public Prosecutions and Others by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) South African police (SAPS).

You’ll remember that last month the High Court ruled in SALC’s favour when it found that the NPA and SAPS’ decision not to initiate an investigation into crimes against humanity committed in Zimbabwe was unlawful because they failed to take into consideration South Africa’s international obligations in terms of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and domestic legislation giving effect to these obligations. The NPA and SAPS were therefore ordered to initiate an investigation. They challenged this decision on a number of grounds, all of which were dismissed, and Judge Hans Fabricius concluded that an appeal held no reasonable prospects of success.

Read the press release below:

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On 26 March 2012 SALC and the Zimbabwean Exiles Forum (ZEF) will go to court to argue that South Africa, through the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the South African Police Services (SAPS), is required in terms of both international and South African law, to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of international crimes.

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SALC is an active member of the African Network of International Criminal Justice, an informal network of African civil society organizations and international organizations with a presence in Africa working on Africa and the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Network has been doing some fantastic work. Its efforts demonstrate the importance of an active civil society in the fight against impunity in Africa. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Sanctions, an arms embargo, asset freezing, a travel ban and a Security Council referral in terms of  the Rome Statute.  Security Council Resolution 1970 comes as a welcome change after the initial echoes of condemnation, amounting to nothing more than a firm tongue lashing, seemingly failed to appreciate the gravity of the Libyan situation. And today ICC Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, formally announced the ICC’s intention to open an investigation into the alleged crimes against humanity committed by Gaddafi, his sons and his “inner circle”. Read the rest of this entry »