South Africa's contribution to international criminal justice

Authored by: Ntombizozuko Dyani-Mhango

The Routledge Handbook of African Law

Print publication date:  November  2021
Online publication date:  November  2021

Print ISBN: 9780815350682
eBook ISBN: 9781351142366
Adobe ISBN:


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The 1996 Constitution of South Africa requires South Africa to prosecute perpetrators of international crimes—crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. The prohibition of these crimes is now considered customary international law and jus cogens. It is in this regard that the Constitutional Court in National Commissioner of the South African Police Service v. Southern African Human Rights Litigation Centre held that international crimes require states, even in the absence of a binding international treaty, to suppress such conduct because “all states have an interest as they violate values that constitute the foundation of the world public order.” Equally, South Africa is a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the first African state to domesticate the Rome Statute through the Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act, 2002. However, in recent years, South Africa has had a turbulent relationship with the ICC, following South Africa’s failure to arrest President Al Bashir and surrender him to the ICC, as requested by the ICC. This chapter tracks South Africa’s contribution to the international criminal justice by examining recent court judgments in this regard, as well as the International Crimes Bill.

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