Sitting heads of states have no immunity from arrest and prosecution when in South Africa, the country’s High court reaffirmed the country’s status on international law this week.
Despite the position of the African Union (AU) that sitting President in the African region would not be arrested and prosecuted, the North Gauteng High court has reaffirmed its decision that under South African law, the fugitives have to be arrested while in South Africa regardless of their social standing.
According to a panel of three judges in Pretoria, who included the Judge President and deputy Judge President, the Implementation Act of that country allows law enforcement officers to arrest visiting President, members of Parliament and government officials including during official visits to South Africa.
Parts of the Act read that, “this statute shall apply equally to all persons without any distinctions based on official capacity. In particular, official capacity as Head of State or Government, a member of Government or Parliament, an elected representative or a government official, shall in no case exempt a person from criminal responsibility under this statute, nor shall it in, and of itself, constitute a ground for reduction for sentence,” and that, “immunities or special procedural rules which may attach to the official capacity of a person whether under national or international law, shall not bar the court from exercising its jurisdiction over such a person.”
When rejecting the state’s application to appeal against the June judgment on the Omar Al-Bashir matter, the North Gauteng High Court reaffirmed its decision that under South African law, the Sudanese President, Bashir, should have been arrested when he attended the African Union Summit in that country in June this year.
The order under appeal directed the South African government to arrest President Bashir and surrender him to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for prosecution for various alleged international crimes. It was sought and granted on the basis that President Bashir was in South Africa and consequently subject to the jurisdiction of the South African courts and capable for arrest by the South Africa Authorities.
However since the country’s President, Jacob Zuma took a political decision to protect Bashir from the arrest and let him go, the court decided that it was not necessary to appeal against the order. The contention was that the outcome of the appeal whether it succeeds or fails, would not have practical effect.
“South African Government is bound by the provisions of the Implementation Act and must implement its provisions. It has enacted this domestic legislation and is obviously bound by it,” read part of the ruling.
However the contention by the S.A government was that the leave to appeal, if granted, would have a practical effect as it will deal with the issue of whether indeed a sitting head of state enjoys immunity under international law and South African law or is subject to arrest in that country.
The worry expressed by government was that the decision would ultimately affect future international events in that country because it raises important questions of international law arising from the interpretation of the implementation and immunities Acts.
The matter also has a diplomatic impact since South Africa is a party to the AU’s decision to reject the ICC.
The calls for Africa to pull from the ICC gained momentum in June 2009 when several African States including Comoros, Djibouti and Senegal suggested it in protest against the believe that the court targets Africa. Then investigations against Bashir for crimes against humanity were starting.
In 2013 Kenya, Uganda and later South Africa joined the fray in protest against ICC’s Investigations in Kenya. A mass withdrawal from the ICC by African States was discussed in October 2014 and it was agreed that Kenya case should be deferred as Uhuru Kenyatta was still in office.
The matter is still a hot topic in the AU as other countries such as Botswana still fully rally behind the ICC and have made it known that they are not ready to pull out.
To date no country has officially pulled out of the ICC and as evidenced by the South African High Court, even laws in some of the countries have not been changed to strengthen the political stand against the ICC.
The South African Judiciary which have been praised by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre as being independent maintains that Bashir enjoyed no immunity from arrest or from prosecution under customary international law even though he is a serving Head of State.
As a response to avert vulture poisoning currently going on in Botswana and KAZA region, Birdlife Botswana has collaborated with three other partners (BirdWatch Zambia, BirdLife International & Birdlife Zimbabwe) to tackle wildlife poisoning which by extension negatively affect vulture populations.
The Director of Birdlife Botswana, Motshereganyi Virat Kootshositse has revealed in an interview that the project which is funded by European Union‚Äôs main goal is to reduce poisoning related vultures‚Äô death and consequently other wildlife species death within the KAZA region.
He highlighted that Chobe district in Botswana has been selected as a pilot site as it has experienced rampant incidents of vulture poisoning for the past few months. In August this year at least 50 endangered white backed vultures were reported dead at Chobe National Park, Botswana after feeding on a buffalo carcass laced with poison.¬† In November this year again 43 white backed vultures were found dead and two alive after feeding on a zebra suspected to have poisoned. ¬†Other selected pilots‚Äô sites are Kafue in Zambia and Hwange in Zimbabwe.
Kootshositse further explained they have established a national and regional Wildlife Poisoning Committee. He added that as for the national committee they have engaged various departments such as Crop Productions, Agro Chemicals, Department of Veterinary Services, Department of Wildlife and National Parks and other NGOs such as Raptors Botswana to come together and find a long-lasting solution to address wildlife poisoning in Botswana. ‚ÄėLet‚Äôs have a strategy or a plan together to tackle wildlife poisoning,‚Äô he stated
He also decried that there is gap in the availability of data about vulture poisoning or wildlife in general. ‚ÄėIf we have a central point for data, it will help in terms of reporting and advocacy‚Äô, he stated
He added that the regional committee comprises of law enforcement officers such as BDF and Botswana police, village leadership such as Village Development Committee and Kgosi. ‚ÄėWe need to join hand together and protect the wildlife we have as this will increase our profile for conservation and this alone enhances our visitation and boost our local economy,‚Äô he noted
Kootshositse noted that Birdlife together with DWNP also addressed series of meeting in some villages in the Chobe region recently. The purpose of kgotla meetings was to raise awareness on the conservation and protection of vultures in Chobe West communities.
‚ÄėAfter realizing that vulture poisoning in the Chobe areas become frequent, we realise that we need to do something about it. ¬†‚ÄėWe did a public awareness by addressing several kgotla meetings in some villages in the Chobe west,‚Äô he stated
He noted that next year they are going to have another round of consultations around the Chobe areas and the approach is to engage the community into planning process. ‚ÄėResidents should be part of the plan of actions and we are working with farmers committee in the areas to address vulture poisoning in the area, ‚Äėhe added
He added that they have found out that some common reasons for poisoning wildlife are farmers targeting predators such as lions in retaliation to killing of their livestock. Another common incident cross border poaching in the Chobe area as poachers will kills an elephant and poison its carcass targeting vultures because of their aerial circling alerting authorities about poaching activities.
Kootshositse noted that in the last cases it was disheartening the incidents occurred three months apart. He added that for the first time they found that some of the body parts of some vultures were missing. He added harvesting of body parts of vultures is not a common practice in Botswana, although it is used in some parts of Africa. ‚ÄėWe suspect that someone took advantage of the availability of carcasses and started harvesting their body parts,‚Äô
The music industry is at a point where artists are jostling for space because there are so many aspirants trying to get their big break, thus creating stiff competition.
In the music business it’s about talent and positioning. You need to be at the right place at the right time with the right people around you to propel you forward.
Against all odds, Everton Mlalazi has managed to takeover the gospel scene effortlessly.
To him, it’s more than just a breakthrough to stardom, but a passion as well as mission directly appointed by the Lord.
Within a short space of 2 years after having decided to persue a solo career, Mlalazi has already made it into international music scene, with his music receiving considerable play on several gospel television and radio stations in Botswana including other regional stations like Trace Africa, One Gospel, Metro FM in South Africa, Hope FM in Kenya and literally all broadcast stations in Zimbabwe.
It doesn’t only stop there, as the musician has already been nominated 2 times and 2 awards which are Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) best Male artists 2022, StarFM listerners Choice Award, Best Newcomer 2021 and ZIMA Best Contemporary Gospel 2022, MLA awards Best Male artist & Best Gospel Artist 2022.
Everton’s inspiration stems from his ultimate passion and desire to lead people into Godly ways and it seems it’s only getting started.
The man is a gospel artist to put on your radar.
Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.
‚ÄúThe proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.‚ÄĚ
The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.
‚ÄúWe welcome the Director‚Äôs general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the ‚Äúfive Ps‚ÄĚ that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.‚ÄĚ
According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. ‚ÄúFor that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.‚ÄĚ