n Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Reg - The vicissitudes of the Rome Statute in the hands of South Africa's law enforcement agencies
Southern African Litigation Centre v National Director of Public Prosecutions case no 77150/09 (unreported) 8-05-2012 (GNP) : regspraak

Volume 2012, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0257-7747
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2207



This judgment by Fabricius J sets an important precedent and is the first to pronounce on South Africa's obligations in terms of the Rome Statute. Hopefully, the respondents will take it seriously and rethink their approach to the investigation of international crimes committed in foreign states. It should also be clear that in a true constitutional democracy the prosecuting authority holds no brief for the executive in international affairs!

The case also creates an opportunity for considering some of the broader issues that could have a bearing on the respondents' understanding of South Africa's international obligations in terms of international human rights treaties to which the Rome Statute also belong, given some of its philosophical underpinnings. Moreover,the crimes in question count amongst the most serious violations of basic human rights, which, according to the Rome Statute's preamble, "must not go unpunished". Hence, "their effective prosecution must be ensured by taking measures at the national level and by enhancing international cooperation" which recalls the "duty of every State to exercise its criminal jurisdiction over those responsible for international crimes".

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