The fear that material intended for publication by the media might contain falsehoods that may damage the reputation of others, has a chilling effect on media freedom. The resulting climate impacts negatively on investigative journalism, which constitutes one of the most potent mechanisms for ensuring accountability in a representative democracy. The position of the media was not helped by the traditional common law of defamation which does not recognise a general media privilege based on information in the public interest. The last two decades have, however, witnessed developments in the law of defamation where protection has been extended to the media where they disseminate information to the public on a matter of public interest provided the defendant is not at fault. This paper examines the defence of reasonable publication to a defamation suit that has been adopted by the courts of Botswana which is aimed at giving the media greater protection when disseminating information on matters of public interest that is honest, albeit erroneous.
Since the commencement of space activities with the launch of the first artificial satellites and the development of rocket technology in the 1950s by the USA and the then Soviet Union, a growing number of states have engaged in space activities, or intend to use space more intensively. Although these states do not have the capability to establish comprehensive space programmes similar to those of the space powers, some of them have at least set up space agencies in recent years. At present, more than fifty states have, to some extent, invested in domestic space activities, and the number of national space agencies is increasing steadily. Space activities are thus becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity, as states increasingly regard them as an important political investment in the future. The socio-economic benefits of using outer space have also made the development of space programmes attractive to a number of developing states, including some in Africa. The potential adverse environmental effects of outer space activities are self-evident. Although there are a number of environmental problems related to space activities, the most prominent is the issue of space debris. This contribution highlights some uncertainties and lacunae in the current outer space treaty regime. It concludes that the current space treaties are largely outdated and inadequate to address the space debris problem. It is submitted that an international dialogue, involving the developed and the developing states, should be initiated as soon as possible in order to conclude a consolidated binding legal instrument for the regulation of all aspects concerning the use of outer space.
The International Law Commission's 2001 Draft Articles on State Responsibility declares that, besides restitution and compensation as a means of accountability for an international wrong, satisfaction may also be offered. Article 37 states that satisfaction may take the form of an expression of regret or a formal apology. This is a movement away from the Chorzow Factory Case PC1J Series A no 17 4 (1928) where it was held that a breach of an international obligation demands full reparation for the injury caused. Article 37 is more in line with the Genocide Convention Case 2007 ICJ Rep 43 where it was held that state responsibility could arise at a political level. In the Rainbow Warrior Affair 20 RIAA 217 (1990) the tribunal considered that a French declaration of responsibility was, inter alia, an appropriate form of redress for using force against the territorial integrity of New Zealand. It is submitted that Australian Prime Minister Rudd's 2008 formal apology for the removal of aboriginal children from their parents (the 'Stolen Generation') and South Africa's 1998 Truth and Reconciliation Commission are examples of an expression of regret or formal apology as set out in article 37 of the ILC's Draft Articles on State Responsibility. It is submitted that in so doing Australia and South Africa have accepted accountability for breaches of ius cogens norms and erga omnes obligations.
Science and technology have assumed a pivotal role in shaping all aspects of modern society. They are intertwined with wider socio-political issues, and feature in both civil and criminal courtrooms. The law, however, often lags behind in adequately considering scientific and technological advances, social context, and the consequences of technological advances in a multicultural society. This article focuses on the moment of death, defined in the National Health Act 61 of 2003 as brain death. The development of death criteria will be considered, together with contemporary controversies surrounding brain death as the generally accepted death criterion. The pivotal role of social norms in determining the moment of death is discussed with specific reference to Jewish law, Japanese culture, and finally African indigenous traditions. It is argued that while it is important that the concept of death be 'updated' and redefined as science and technology provide for new possibilities, and social norms and belief systems change over time, it is only with due regard to societal norms and values that the law can truly give effect to the role of science and technology in shaping all aspects of modern society - including the medical and legal definitions of death.
In the fight against terrorism, many states have overreacted to its threat and have adopted overbroad definitions of terrorism that forfeited fundamental rights in the name of protecting national security. Egypt, under President Mubarak's regime, was one of those states that have exceedingly abused its terrorism definition to restrain many Egyptians' fundamental rights and freedoms. The following article provides a comprehensive analysis of the Egyptian definitional approach by highlighting the various deficiencies in the Egyptian definition of terrorism. Moreover, the paper underscores the harmful implication that such ambiguous and vague a definition may pose for the legal system and emphasises how easily this definition lends itself to manipulation by unscrupulous political regimes. To provide more insight, the article compares the Egyptian definition of terrorism to a number of international law definitions and underscores the various dissimilarities between them in the light of international law norms and standards for defining terrorism. It is further claimed that there are core elements of an objective definition that can be distilled from the various international definitions in order to prevent any potential abuse of power or undue interference with fundamental rights and freedoms. The article concludes with legal recommendations derived from the analysis of international law approaches for the prospective Egyptian legislator to consider when amending the anti-terrorism law of Egypt.
This paper outlines a possibly emerging policy governing the transnational use of force. It contends that the Security Council has begun allowing, even calling for, the use of force in response to large-scale targeting of civilians. This new policy, by focusing on the threat to "civilians" instead of the Charter's express prohibition on the use of force and its fundamental respect for sovereignty, violates the cornerstones of the Charter system. While these considerations are facially incompatible with the Charter's principles governing force, they help provide a new framework for analysing how the Security Council will act regarding intervention in today's security environment. The Security Council, due to its unique nature, small voting structure and the broad deference afforded it by states and under the Charter, has been able to respond to threats against civilians from transnational terrorism and state violence on a step-by-step basis. This paper pieces together some of these steps to show the Security Council is indeed using a new framework for the use of force that incorporates considerations outside those contemplated in the Charter.