The SARChI Professorship in International Constitutional Law, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, the Faculty of Law, University of Namibia and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (Kenya Office) are planning a workshop on ‘The Impact of International Human Rights Law on Constitutional Democracy in Africa’. This event will take place in Windhoek from 6 through 8 March 2019 and i.a. include Chief Justice Peter Shivute from Namibia and former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Catherine O’Regan as speakers.

Background and Purpose

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The purpose of current workshop is to explore the influence that international human rights treaties have had on judicial practice in some Southern African countries, particularly Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, as well as the lessons that can be drawn from this for other countries in the region. In these three countries the judiciary have played a significant role in fostering human rights and democracy, especially since the adoption of the new constitutions in of Namibia and South Africa in 1990 and 1996 respectively.

Programme Information

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Speaker abstracts and papers

The status of international law in the domestic legal order

  • Ndjodi Ndeunyema
    The status of international law in Namibia

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  • C M Fombad & B R Dinokopila
    The development of International law in Botswana and the exceptionalism narrative

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  • Erika de Wet
    The Status of International Law in South Africa

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  • Matthias Herdegen
    I. Possible Approaches • Dualism • Monist tendencies

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The right to life: balancing individual freedom, human dignity and State security

  • Justice David Smuts
    The starting point in any discussion of this topic from a Namibian perspective is the Namibian Constitution. In short, it firmly entrenches individual freedoms and human dignity with its right giving nature, with some recognition to state security.

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  • Kate O’Regan
    This paper will be divided into two parts: in the first, an account of some of the leading South African cases on the right to life will be given. The cases considered will include S v Makwanyane [1995] ZACC 3 1995 (3) SA 391 (CC); Mohamed and Another v President, RSA and Others [2001] ZACC 18 2001 (3) SA 893 (CC);

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  • Bonolo Ramadi Dinokopila
    This paper discusses the protection of the right to life in Botswana. It does so by looking at the legal and institutional protection of the right to life in Botswana from an international human rights law perspective. With reference to Botswana’s obligations under international, the paper further discusses the role of the judiciary in the promotion and the protection of the right to life in Botswana.

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Parliamentary control over the ratification from and withdrawal of treaties

  • Ndjodi Ndeunjema
    In the paper considering ‘the status of international law in the Namibian legal order’, it has been determined that, on the strength of principally Article 144 of the Namibian Constitution, international agreements are of direct effect and application in Namibia subject to where an international agreement’s provisions conflict with the Constitution and Act of Parliament.

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  • Tshiamo Rantao
    Section 86 of the Botswana Constitution provides that “subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament shall have power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Botswana.”

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  • Francois Venter
    This is a preliminary outline, subject to adaptation in the course of my preparation of the paper. Various components shown below warrant much more elaboration than would be possible in a presentation of 20 minutes, and will therefore be sketched only briefly for the purposes of contextualisation.

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  • Matthias Herdegen
    Ratification of treaties in general (Art. 59 (2) GG), “Political” treaties, Treaties affecting domestic law Treaties transferring sovereign powers to supranational organisations (Arts. 23, 24 (1) GG)

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The right to asylum: balancing individual freedom, human dignity and State security

  • Elizabeth Macharia Mokobi
    The right to claim asylum is guaranteed and recognised at international law. Botswana law also provides for the granting of asylum to persons meeting the international requirements for refugee protection. However, the State has found itself challenged by failed asylum seekers wanting to assert their rights to freedom and human dignity.

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  • Sharon S Ekambaram
    This paper will locate the question of the right to asylum in the current context. It will briefly speak to the following issues: 1. Crisis presented by new situations of conflict and violence and challenges this presents to the post 1945 refugee protection regime. The presentation will firstly look at the limitations that resulted from the refugee concept contained in the Convention and its implications for today...

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