Minister Michael Masutha on the matter of International Criminal Court and Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir

first_imgPresident Jacob Zuma and President Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan discuss strengthening relations between South Africa and Sudan, 2 September 2015. (Photo: GCIS)We have called this press conference to announce the decision taken by Cabinet on Wednesday, 19 October 2016 in relation to the country’s membership to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the pending appeal regarding Sudanese President Al Bashir.The Republic of South Africa is a founder member of the African Union and plays an important role in resolving conflicts on the African continent and in encouraging the peaceful resolution of conflicts wherever they occur anywhere else in the world.In exercising its international relations with foreign countries, particularly with countries in which serious conflicts occur or have occurred, South Africa is hindered by the Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act, 2 (Act No 27 of 2002). This Act and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court compel South Africa to arrest persons who may enjoy diplomatic immunity under customary international law but who are wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and to surrender such persons to the International Criminal Court. South Africa has to do so, even under circumstances where we are actively involved in promoting peace, stability and dialogue in those countries.We wish to give effect to the rule of customary international law which recognises the diplomatic immunity of heads of state and others in order to effectively promote dialogue and the peaceful resolution of conflicts wherever they may occur, particularly on the African continent. South Africa enacted the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act,  (Act No. 37 of 2001), which provides for the immunities and privileges of diplomatic missions and consular posts and their members, of heads of states, special envoys and certain representatives of the United Nations and its specialised agencies, other international organisations and certain other persons.However, the Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act, 2002, is in conflict and inconsistent with the provisions of the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act, 2001. In order to ensure South Africa’s continued ability to conduct active diplomatic relations, a bill proposing the repeal of the Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act, 2002 will soon be tabled in parliament. We have already in writing informed the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the NCOP of this Executive decision.In the matter of the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development v The Southern African Litigation Centre (867/15) [2016] ZASCA 17 (15 March 2016), the Supreme Court of Appeal confirmed that in terms of customary international law, heads of state enjoy immunity against arrest. However, the Supreme Court of Appeal found that in enacting the Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act, 2002, South Africa had expressly waived the immunity of such heads of state and that South Africa was obliged to arrest persons wanted for crimes committed against humanity.In essence, the Supreme Court of Appeal identified the problem which needs to be addressed. The effect of withdrawal from the Rome Statute as well as the repeal of the Implementation Act thus completes the removal of all legal impediments inhibiting South Africa’s ability to honour its obligations relating to the granting of diplomatic immunity under international law as provided for under our domestic legislation. This therefore removes the necessity at least in so far as this aspect is concerned of continuing with the appeal.Written notice to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court has been submitted to the Secretary-General of the United Nations in accordance with Article 127(1) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The withdrawal will take effect one year after the Secretary-General has received the notification. South African will remain obligated under the Rome Statute for the duration of the 12 months’ notice period.An application for leave to appeal the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal set down for hearing at the Constitutional Court on 22 November 2016, will now be withdrawn. This is so, especially as the Supreme Court of Appeal has removed the uncertainty around customary international law in relation to diplomatic immunity in so far as it affects heads of states and others who may be wanted for serious violations of human rights and other serious crimes but who enjoy diplomatic immunity under international customary law.South Africa remains committed to the fight against impunity and to hold those who have committed crimes against humanity and other serious crimes accountable. Our unwavering commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights throughout Africa and elsewhere in the world is further demonstrated by our continued participation in various international and continental human rights instruments.For this reason, South Africa will work closely with the African Union and with other countries in Africa to strengthen continental bodies, such as the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, created to deal with such crimes and to prosecute the perpetrators, whilst at the same time continuing to participate and honour its commitments under international human rights instruments. South Africa will continue to actively promote dialogue and the peaceful resolution of conflicts on the African continent and elsewhere.Enquiries:Mthunzi MhagaSpokesperson for the Ministry of Justice and Correctional servicesCell: 083 641 8141E-mail: Mediaenquiries@justice.gov.zaIssued by:Department of Justice and Constitutional Developmentlast_img read more

Africa ‘must enable investment to grow’

first_img23 January 2014Africa needs to create an enabling environment for domestic and foreign investment to realize its potential and ensure inclusive growth for its population, panelists agreed at a special session on the opening day of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday.However, the continent had many challenges to overcome, including addressing a pervasive and growing inequality that was fueling instability. And with the continent’s population expected to rise to 2-billion by 2050, it was imperative that the foundation for sustainable and inclusive growth be laid now.“We need jobs, jobs, jobs,” said Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama, one of the panelists at the session dubbed “Africa’s Next Billion”. “Economic and social inclusion is a top priority. We create space for the private sector, and it’s one of government’s responsibilities to distribute the fruits of growth.”More intra-Africa trade could boost economic growth, Mahama added. “I feel ashamed that trade between our countries is only 11%. That is unacceptable.”To build on the progress Africa had made so far, he said, governments also had to continue to realize the democratic dividend of good governance, respect for human rights and rule of law.Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan pointed out that there was stability in most African countries today. “But before we could talk about economic growth, we needed political stability,” he said.Aliko Dangote, chief executive of Nigeria’s Dangote Group and a co-chair of this year’s annual meeting, pointed out that the majority of foreign investors were too cautious in the lead-up to elections and during what could be the short-lived reign of political parties. “Today there is no government that will be against business, so go ahead and invest,” he urged.“People always underestimate what Africa can be,” Dangote said. “By 2050 we will have a united Africa with one common market … Can you imagine if we had sufficient power? Our GDP would be US$9-trillion by 2050. It can happen.”Julian Roberts, group chief executive of Old Mutual, United Kingdom, told participants: “Africa is on the move and it is moving forward. But we need to ensure we have an enabling platform for business.” Roberts said the continent would not succeed unless there was a “handshake between government and the private sector”.If the continent’s infrastructure bottlenecks can be overcome, particularly intra-African transportation routes, intra-Africa trade could flourish and create prosperity,” Roberts added. “Our target should be 80% intra-Africa trade by 2050.”Africa’s economic growth might be accelerating, but, according to Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, United Kingdom: “The concentration of wealth and power is excluding and locking out millions of people, which is driving insecurity and instability.” So far, economic growth had been a race to the bottom, Byanyima said. “We need a race to the top so we have policies and regulation to protect human rights, the environment and reduce poverty.”Doreen Noni, creative director of Eskado Bird, Tanzania, noted that young people in Africa were not trained from a young age to have entrepreneurial skills. Because of its huge young population, Africa’s workforce was set to burgeon by 2050. “We need to awaken our youth … and direct them to be entrepreneurial. We can only get our continent to have inclusive growth if we are educated and change our mindsets.”Source: World Economic Forumlast_img read more

5 Tips for Military Caregivers during the Holidays

first_imgThe holidays can often be a time filled with many emotions for military caregivers, ranging from thankfulness and joy, to stress and frustration. Overwhelmed with daily responsibilities of providing care to our service members, the holidays, as special as they may be to us, may leave us vulnerable to stress.The following tips for military caregivers are suggestions for this holiday season as you spend time with your wounded service member and family and friends.1. Share your wish list of caregiving duties. The gift of asking for help can be even better than material objects. Talk to family and friends and get them involved in some of your caregiving activities. Ask if they can provide respite care for a few hours, run errands, take your service member to the doctor, or help out around the house.2. Recognize signs and symptoms of burnout. During the holidays your caregiving duties may become more heightened than ever. Your stress level can reach an all-time high as you try to juggle caring for your wounded warrior and getting ready for the holiday festivities. Before long you become burnout and robbed of your energy and experience a full blown emotional breakdown. Recognize these emotions or signs and symptoms of burnout and identify outlets when you begin to feel stressed.3. Anticipate holiday triggers from your service member. The holidays may trigger stress or unhappy memories for some wounded service members. Be mindful and acknowledge their emotions as well as yours. Service members may feel anxious with large holiday crowds; they may even bring on negative emotions because they are no longer able to accomplish or participate in things they once were. Stay focused on the positive, and thankful they are with you this time of year.4. Simplify holiday activities. We all imagine the holidays full of bright lights and food and drinks of every variety, but it may be less stressful if you scaled back a bit to simplify, while still enjoying the holiday festivities. Set limits. If you are baking for a feast, chose foods that are simpler to bake; eat out or order a prepared meal.5. Start new holiday traditions. Depending on your service member’s injury, you and your family may not be able to participate in as many holiday activities as you once were. As a caregiver, you are learning to create a ‘new normal’ and change is inevitable. If you are unable to travel to see family and friends or attend holiday parties, try using technology and setup a video visit.This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network blog on December 1, 2014.last_img read more

Rash of new clubs in Kolkata takes over from traditional ones with style and panache

first_imgLIVING IT UP: The pool-side barArchana Agarwal’s children work as hard as her. Since the HR manager at Tata Tea in Kolkata keeps busy, she has enrolled her children in a school-cum-creche. Guilty, Agarwal decided to join a club, hoping her children could catch up on some outdoor activities.She tried,LIVING IT UP: The pool-side barArchana Agarwal’s children work as hard as her. Since the HR manager at Tata Tea in Kolkata keeps busy, she has enrolled her children in a school-cum-creche. Guilty, Agarwal decided to join a club, hoping her children could catch up on some outdoor activities.She tried three of the city’s best places, but didn’t make it. While two clubs told her they were too full, the third informed that her membership might take a decade. “I can’t wait that long,” she says. “My children will grow up by then.”Entrepreneur Ravi Arora had a different experience though he is in the same boat. When he wanted to join one of the better known clubs in Kolkata, a member of its managing committee promised to push his application for a generous fee.”I was asked for Rs 1 lakh even though the membership fee is a little over Rs 50,000,” says a disgusted Arora. Like Agarwal and Arora, there are at least 10,000 people who have been waiting long to get into one or the other of Kolkata’s 10 best clubs, a recent IMRB study reveals. Some of them have been on the list for over a decade. The good news is that a rash of new clubs are cashing in on this lopsided demand-and-supply situation and are fast weaning away the wannabes. While Agarwal is now a member of Ibiza, a new country club 25 km from the city, Arora is part of The Circle, which opened in 1999.A month into operations, Ibiza has notched up 300 takers, each paying Rs 60,000. The Space Circle, which has not even opened yet and has a steeper membership fee of Rs 1.1 lakh, already has four times that number on its rolls.advertisementThere’s also the highway-skirting Lake land Country Club, besides some others in the pipeline: Princeton, another venture by the group which owns Ibiza, and Country Roads, a farmhouse complex with a club, which will be operational by the year 2003.The billiards room at IbizaThe well-heeled Kolkatan, for whom clubbing is a colonial hangover, couldn’t have asked for more. With fewer watering holes than other metros, the club is an essential hangout in Kolkata for taking the family out for a Sunday lunch, entertaining prospective clients or getting sporty on the weekend. “Wherever the British set foot, the first thing they did was to set up a club,” writes novelist Budhadev Guha.The penchant for clubbing is so strong that membership of one or more of the city’s prestigious clubs has come to dictate one’s social standing. Most of Kolkata’s turn-of-the-century clubs had been the preserve of the Brown Sahib till the 1960s.Now everyone wants to be a part of that charmed circle, forcing the clubs to tighten membership norms. While Bengal Club targets only the top company executives, Calcutta Club bars women and under-30s as members.The Calcutta Cricket and Football Club, the Royal Calcutta Golf Club and South Club prefer entrants with a sports background. Others cite legal reasons. According to air commodore (retd) K.B. Menon, managing member of the Tollygunge Club, the club’s charter forbids more than 1,500 permanent members. “And rightly so,” he adds. “A club is an extension of my home. I would like only the people I could bring home to be around me at the club.”That leaves a huge chunk of young people – teens, yuppies, middle-level executives – with virtually nowhere to go. “The new clubs recognise this and are cashing in on it,” says A.K. Dutt, former president of several of the city’s traditional clubs.The facilities they offer reflect this. Space Circle is investing big money in a 7,000-sq ft indoor cricket ground, rollerblading and ice- skating rinks and a two-storey practice rock for mountaineering buffs. The Circle already has never-before perks like an art gallery and a huge children’s room equipped with nannies. Glossing over TraditionThe Calcutta ClubOld HauntsAdvantages: A home away from home, the colonial clubs have an old-world charm about them.Drawbacks: Hemmed in by financial and space constraints, they offer few facilities and fewer memberships.New EntrantsAdvantages: With never-before features like indoor cricket grounds, ice-skating rinks and jacuzzis they are raking in new members.Drawbacks: Located in the suburbs, they rank low as status symbols.At Ibiza, members get to try their hand at sports like angling, boating and pool. They could use a kilometre-long, specially designed jogging track that has a cushion of sand and hollow bricks, or a mini driving and putting range.While traditional clubs would balk at the idea of a full-time disco on their premises (most are content with a special “nite” or two), the new clubs can’t imagine life without a dancing floor. Some of this is admittedly gimmicky – like the submerged pool-side bar and open-air jacuzzi at Ibiza – but members are lapping it up.While a ceiling on members seems fair, change makers feel the traditional clubs need to do some soul searching.”If the older clubs don’t move with the times, they will lose out to the new ones,” says Dutt. The picture already looks grim.advertisementMany of the better-known clubs are hamstrung by shortage of space and finances. Most of these clubs are housed in heritage buildings in the city and cannot expand or change at will.Nor do they have the funds to do so, even though members pay a monthly subscription ranging between Rs 300 and Rs 450. The Saturday Club, for instance, has an annual turnover of Rs 3.5 crore. But till April, it was spending Rs 1.75 crore on staff salaries every year. When officials suggested a cutback, a violent union forced the club to shut down for three months. Similarly, the Calcutta Club, which gets about Rs 1.5 crore from its 4,000 members every year, has to spend almost Rs 2 crore on staff salaries annually.Recently, when some members proposed a three-tier underground parking system to generate money, the idea was shot down: it would be against the philosophy of the club to go “commercial.Children’s Hall at The CircleThe new clubs have no such qualms. “Money’s not the important thing,” says Sushil Mohta of Ibiza. “I offer my members a club and four-star hotel rolled into one.” In other words, he runs it like a business.But does it matter? Deb Kumar Bose, who recently signed up at a new country club, believes the “old-world charm of the traditional clubs” doesn’t sell anymore. “I don’t care for it,” he says.”My children will care even less.” That’s a warning call to some of the older clubs, says a committee member of Tollygunge Club. “They have to shape up if they have to fend off competition,” he says. “If a club is a home away from home, no one wants an outmoded dwelling.”Least of all the wait listed.last_img read more